Dr. Zeus – Book I – Canto XXI

Of my most fearsome daughter
How she does love the slaughter
Of how I’d redress
And she love express
Of the birth of a son
And the joy that would come
Of that beautiful nymph whom I truly did wrong
Who proved to all she was so very strong
-Oh halcyon Muses nine-
For your version I simply haven’t the time
Though here I’d accept whatever you say
For for them I caused such dismay
There’s one thing that I just must decry
For the actions of Artemis her emotions belie
So shall I take over and sing this next verse
Sing of my daughter, who undid my curse

To Try To Correct I Mustn’t Protect

I searched for Callisto – that very last life
That that I filled with horror and strife

Across the land I did have to scour
To find her at once was out of my power

For the high walled cities were all built by men
And they offered no comfort, not even then

For though by her mistress out she’d been cast
Her faith in her goddess forever would last

Never would she abandon the wild
Always she’d be nature’s true child

So many a forest and many a field
Over I searched before she revealed

I saw her sitting, alone by an oak
‘Twas clear from her look that her spirit was broke

And when I approached she didn’t show fear
Her eyes, I saw, were hollow and clear

“Darling” I said “I have nothing to say
I couldn’t have known that she felt the same way

My trite words she ended – she cut me right off
Exhaling a breath, that closed in a scoff

“I’m not,” she hissed “your darling or sweet
We were for the other nothing but meat

“You simply did the horrors you do
And I did dream what I thought was untrue

“So despite all your power you are nothing to me
I simply don’t care, just let me be”

Now no matter my actions I still have a heart
And so painful it ached – I played too great a part

“I’m… sorry” I managed to eke
My voice left shattered and weak

“Those that I’ve wronged I never have faced
No one before has put me in place

“Is there nothing you wish, nothing at all
It may not be justice, but I am at call”

With eyes unfocused she looked me right past
I couldn’t atone – that time was long past

But when at last she finally did speak
I couldn’t have guessed for what she did seek

“It seems,” she said “that I just can’t go on
From me now all hope is gone

“I suppose you can make me some sort of beast
So I can join in the hunt, in some way at least

“My love is destroyed, I no longer can live
So I’ll offer what I have left to give”

I wished to object but it wasn’t my part
I must leave it to her, her broken heart

And while for this I’m thought callous and cruel
For what I had done I must play the fool

But desirous was I to leave some sort of strength
If she wished to be hunted it would be at length

It had to be splendid, a wondrous fight
No little deer who’d only take flight

Thus her body ‘came covered hair
That thick and coarse, that of a bear

Her muscles they grew, bones twisted and bent
Her clothes they were tattered, from her hide they were rent

For since I could give her no place to belong
I’d give her her hunt, one fit for a song

But the stress of of the change, it was simply too great
Her labour, that birth, it just couldn’t wait

So there as a bear she bore a dear boy
And this, I feared, would my new plan destroy

For while their romance now was no more
A different relation I still had in store

For what but the chase can take that sweet place
Garments of armour in stead those of lace

But was it too early for those two to meet
Right now Callisto with ease would be beat

For near to, or also, just after birth
Is no time, through fight, to prove one’s own worth

And my daughter by chance was quite near
So Callisto’s pained roars she clearly did hear

So over a hill my daughter did stride
As Arcas, my son, did very well hide

Thus only she saw what of Callisto I made
There in the field as she now laid

Artemis crouched and slowly approached
Trying to hid as she ‘pon her encroached

But the field it was flat and the growth wasn’t tall
So however she tried she was seen by us all

Thus before she was anywhere near
Callisto her spotted with her bow and her spear

And while she was drained and did energy lack
From this fight she never would back

-Oh how she did fight!- all were impressed
There is is little as deadly as a mother distressed

But ‘twasn’t just Arcas for whom she stood fast
For too she knew ‘gainst whom was her last

So intimate is the fight and the hunt
For her last final hour it was all she could want

And my daughter, though savage, is still full of wit
Together she saw how all of this fit

It was Callisto she knew! Her ferocity saw
In the bearing of fang, the snapping of jaw

Both of their hearts, they nearly then burst
Together they were for the last and the first

For although they could would never share bed
Together now in violence they wed

And though she had fought a glorious fight
She just couldn’t stand ‘gainst her goddess’s might

So with a thrust of her spear she let go her arms
As her love, oh so limp, fell into her arms

But Callisto’s soul still did it linger
So up it I plucked twixt my thumb and my finger

And too I took the guise of our son
For I longed to see what he’d become

So I left Arcas there, now but a child
To grow and be raised by the nymphs of the wild

Up in the sky I placed his bear skin
So I must always look at this one sin

His mother too, I placed there her spirit
But the horizon, that edge, she’d never go near it

For all the way up there in our godly domain
She could watch her sweet love as the wilds she’d tame

My task now complete, I realized the truth
Against all my crimes I couldn’t give proof

What I have done I can never correct
So many lives I simply did wreck

It seems that never can I balance the scale
In this task I always will fail

But I’ll do what I can, I’ll give it my best
And try to provide some measure of rest

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