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Phoebus Apollo

 

Kudos to the winners of our Spring, 2011, Odes to Olympians contest, honoring the god Apollo!  Margaret Eddershaw, who resides in Greece, won the contest for adults with her poem, Apollo Speaks to the Press, while Rebekah Gunderson won the under-18 competition with her poem, Lantern.

As always, judging poetry is a difficult task.  We received a couple of hundred entries.  So we also want to draw your attention to those who received honorable mentions.  The Adult Honorable Mentions include: Sherri Malloy Elsharra, Debby Cooper, Janet McCann, Wendy Chen, Thomas Rist, Nelam Shah and FJ Bergmann.  In the under-18 category are Carys Goodwin, Charlotte Pryer, Haidee Chen, Kyle Montgomery and Emily Wingfield.

Scroll down to read the poems of the winners and the honorable mentions, and come back later to read about future contests.

 

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There’s no need to read our books to enter the contests, but if you like mythology, or historical fiction, or exciting stories, we think you’ll enjoy them!

 

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Margaret Eddershaw

First Place Winner – Adult

 

Apollo Speaks to the Press

 

I want to make a statement

on the death of my son, Phaeton:

thanks to bullying at school,

he began to doubt his parentage.

As proof of paternity, he asked

to drive my Sun-Chariot.

I reluctantly agreed,

but as the horses leaped forward,

my boy struggled to rein them in -

they plunged towards the earth,

fire devouring fields and forests.

Phaeton drove the horses higher,

but they pawed at burning skies,

till he cried out for help.

Zeus shattered the chariot with lightning

and my son, consumed by flames,

fell - a solitary lark dropping to its nest -

into the river Eridanus’ cool embrace,

swirled away in a shroud of steam.

I ask forgiveness

from all who lost family and homes,

through my son’s crazy joy-ride.

Devastated by his death,

I have yet to drive the new chariot

Vulcan has so kindly provided.

But I assure members of the public,

my Sun-Chariot resumes its course

tomorrow.

Thank you.

No questions.

 

*

Rebekah Gunderson

First Place Winner – Under 18

 

Lantern

 

for all of your qualms

about honesty, you don't seem
to have a problem with leaving your bed unmade.
where are all of the abandoned
ends to your schemes, tangled
helplessly amongst lost loves?
how can such an embodiment of order never find

true balance in his own love life?
you say this is irrelevant.
you are, after all, a deity.

boy, you're a firestarter.
bird-bones and sun-halo.
pull the truth out of me;
smile with your unblinking lantern-eyes
tell me a riddle; sing me to sleep.
never too much, you say.
leave some for the others.
Dionysus laughs at your virtues;
coaxes you to come out and play.
“This peace, love, and harmony act
of yours, it can't be any fun.”
you sit beneath your cypress,
pressed carefully against your
former lover's bones.
“It isn't an act.”

you win every argument
with your bronze-star poker face.
the sun follows you; you predict coming

storms, you mend broken hearts, torn limbs,
but you can't seem to fix your own.

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Honorable Mentions Adult

 

Sherri Malloy Elsharra

A Dream of Apollon

I dreamt last night
Of hazel eyes,
And the smell of bay leaves burning.

You knelt above me,
Music in your touch
Playing upon me like on the strings of a lyre.

Burning like the sun
Your golden gaze drew me forward
Like a bloom searching for heat.

You tasted of honey
As you parted my lips with your tongue
And set my flesh aflame with your kiss.

I dreamt of you,
Lying with me in a noon-warmed field,
As sunlight chased patterns over our glistening skin.

I dreamt of you
And woke with the warmth of sunshine
Clinging to my spirit.

 

*

 

Debby Cooper

When Apollo was not so stellar

 

Apollo boasted golden hair

And sweetly singing lyre.

He wooed, like other Roman gods,

With heart--and loins--on fire.

He had success with ladies, sure,

And who knows where or when.

(It seems quite evident that there

Were “groupies” even then.)

But Daphne cast a “No” vote, and

When he pursued, she fled.

She preferred life as a laurel tree

To joining him in bed.

Cassandra’s tale did not improve

His tally sheet. Their trade:

Virginity for prophecy,

But once the deal was made,

She swore off having sex with him.

In crass retaliation,

He made sure no one believed her.

Hence, crises for the nation!

Apollo’s battle skills? First rate,

With warfare for a calling.

But like so many gods, his skills

With gals could be Apolling.

 

*

 

Janet McCann

To Apollo At Delphi

The scrawled sign over the stones said
The Oracle is out,” that bright day
and the stones seemed dumb,
imagination balked in bald sunlight.

In the “theological oracles” you said
the gods all serve or manifest
a single god, the highest of them all.
I would have asked you what you meant by that,

but you’ve been silent now for centuries--
eighteen of them, although they tried
to bring you back. Your towns were leveled,
rebuilt, re-leveled, but you kept your peace.

We sat on ruined stones and ate ice-cream,
The guide snatched the sign. You have to
use your imagination
, she said. This place
was once the center.
The light was too strong.

Outside the circle wheeled the ancient world.

 

*

Wendy Chen

daphne and apollo

 

 “running is our natural state of being,” he told her. “of which there are two

categories: hunter-running and hunted-running.”

“these two categories suit our human inclinations

which are unnatural, or

perhaps too natural

of possession, denial, fear, estimation, thrill, delight, and

desire.”

the nymph called daphne

threw up the ancient cry of

Help!

and

oh Father, my father

she was scared of possessiondenialfearestimationthrilldelightand

desire

which was unnatural, or

perhaps too natural.

when apollo touched her, he felt her skin turning

rough and hard, no longer pleasurable he

kissed her anyway

because Eros, in a hammock of twine and starlight,

was watching

swinging over the center of the universe

 

*

 

Thomas Rist

Aubade, late

 

No wonder they called the sun a god. Strong

Hot, he’s every inch you want from a man.

Just look at the street:

When he gets up, it’s off with the long sleeves girls

And where are the shorts?

And the boys.

Suddenly not so scared to bare bear chests:

The world’s their poem.

Oysters are in the air.

Still, I maintain the sweaty one’s name got mixed.

It’s not just Apollo turns Aberdonians hedonist,

Unzipping the fly of Calvin down to his Kleins,

Dionysus sings too - no rhyme, no reason!

 

*

 

Nelam Shah

Apollo the great

 

Who showered the creative jewels down on earth,

The lyrics, Tunes, melodies, songs and notes,

spreading the hypnotic,

Trance to human life,

Apollo the God of Music.

Who switched the largest lamp of the world,

The sun to engulf the whole planet with pure

Luminosity so darkness can meet its match,

Apollo the God of Light.

Who foretold the future,

The world’s catastrophes, natural disasters,

Plagues of doom unleashed,

Ancient mysticism maybe,

Or the omniscient All Seeing Eye,

Apollo the God of prophecy.

Who invented natural medicine,

Cures, remedies to combat ill health,

Eliminate suffering and pain,

To make the weak strong again,

Only on one place, earth

Apollo the god of healing.

 

*

 

FJ Bergmann

The Further Suns

Ascending the empyrean in a chariot of white fire,
O god of light, Apollo, we know you here on Earth—
she, your ancestress, whose children gave you birth—
as a radiant presence. From your Hermes-gifted lyre,

irresistible rivulets of song cascade, unfurl,
as you strike its strings with a golden plectrum.
Our flocks and fields are fed by your familiar spectrum;
who are you when you shine on another world?

In systems whose central stars are unlike ours,
darker or brighter, gigantic or far less,
whom do their inhabitants believe you bless?
What strange oracles do you imbue with powers?

Deity of poets and prophets, pellucid, wise,
in what forms do you and your instrument appear
when worshipers lack any organ that could hear?
What wavelengths do you bestow on alien eyes?

Where binary suns entwine their orbits' scrawl of spins,
Under what names do you manifest as twins?

 

*

 

Honorable Mentions

Under 18 Category

 

Carys Goodwin

Sunflower God

 

In a prayer to Apollo

The sunflower lifts its head,

A reflection of the disc

That ignites the sky.

Chariot with a fiery trail,

Father to fields of gold.

Sunflower grows, its task to reach the sky.

A flower in a pantheon of artistry,

Surrounded by Gods of equal wonder.

The rose of love with a fragrance

As powerful as Eros' arrow;

Iris, endowed with Athena's

Intuitive grey eyes.

Apollo breathes a hum of swirling wind.

Garden of Olympus in its isolation,

But visited by Pandora's whispers.

Each haunted soul unaware

That the petals they pick - (he loves me)

With fumbling fingers - (he loves me not)

Are sublime, created by an elaborate system.

Brothers and sisters dance in the sunlight.

 

*

 

Charlotte Pryer

Explaining Daphne

The only one you really loved
Was quick to run away,
Nymphs like her are fragile souls
And never lightly lay.
We all know that you loved her so
You treasured what she left
And crowned those at Olympia
With wreaths wove from her breast.
You wonder why she hastened
And fled from your side?
You wonder, when frivolity
Was your favorite ride.
When she saw you wanted more
And realized the truth,
She turned upon her heel and left
With innocence of youth.
You see, she felt yourself too grand
And her too pure and wild,
She saw through you for what you were:
A greedy little child.
You told her that you loved her so,
And she’s the only one.
In fear she prayed to be less fair,
No longer white but dun,
No longer dun but dry and stiff
And shatterproof and dark,
And her tresses turned to leaves,
And her skin into bark.

 

*

Haidee Chen

In the eyes of Clytie

 

Notice me!

O great god Apollo

A simple water nymph like me

And you,

Born to even more than royalty!

O Patron of music and poetry,

Notice me!

A pale golden glow scatters the dark clouds

O god of the Sun

Across the clear sky your golden chariot runs

I follow,

But you don’t look below, Apollo

Don’t leave me behind!

Notice me!

As I watch your chariot for nine days and nine nights

I need nothing but your brilliant light

Hoping for a glimpse of your beautiful face

I starve away at your godly grace

Just so you might notice me

My body turns stiff and green

My hair becomes golden petals, but I remain unseen

Nevertheless, I face towards you

Hoping you would get a clue,

That I am forever longing to be with you

Always loyal

Through mind, body, and soul in the soil,

I follow you eternally.

Notice me.

 

*

 

Kyle Montgomery

Streaks of Sun

 

I heard the cackling wheels and the tumultuous thunder

Of the great chariot of Apollo.

I saw the strides of fire, spouting from monstrous wheels.

I beheld the Sun, the Son, and the Light, all from one being.

I caressed that which no mortal had before.

Pure light he was made of, angelic in taste.

Hair made of the finest in life's everlasting weave.

Skin tough as steel, yet soft as supple harvest.

I beheld the Son.

He stayed only a moment, then singed the clouds with his depart

The great light before a grand shooting star

With heart content and mind enlightened

I beheld the Sun.

Our fair city had angered this great noble being

And lest wrath not be seeking, he beset upon us.

A plague spouted from every breath, and wheat.

And ill came to me, as a miasma.

Upon the doorsteps of Hades, I asked to see.

He came down, upon the stairs of carved pearl

Regret plagued him, who had brought to me

That now, I beheld the light.

 

*

 

Emily Wingfield

Golden Delphi

 

Though lovers embrace in the night

beneath thy sister the moon

They look to golden dawn

and love through the afternoon.

So they turn to brilliant east

where golden Delphi lies

Under loftiest Parnassus

and Truth conquers disguise.

Castalia dives, arouses poets’ tongues

while Cephissus lopes on

And laurel branches quiver

for Daphne rests withdrawn.

Men who are sick and weary

with the blood of their kin

Turn toward bright Delphi

to be cleansed of their sin.

And Truth spills from thy lips

arrows from thy silver bow

Beauty trickles from thy lyre

for thou art Apollo.

Olympian among Olympians

Phoebus, play sooth

For beauty invites beauty

and Truth invites Truth.

Though lovers embrace in the night

beneath thy sister the moon

They turn toward golden Delphi

and love their greatest at noon.

 

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Visit the winning poems of other Odes to Olympians contests!

Winning Odes to Zeus

Winning Odes to Hera

Winning Odes to Poseidon

Winning Odes to Demeter

Winning Odes to Hermes

Winning Odes to Artemis

Winning Odes to Athena

Winning Odes to Ares

Winning Odes to Aphrodite

Winning Odes to Hephaestus

 

Go here to visit the most current contest.

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Concerned that you don't know enough about the Olympians to write poems about them? You can explore these websites:

Parada's Greek Mythology Link: A tremendously detailed resource

Theoi Greek Mythology: Exploring Classical mythology in Literature and Art

Timeless Myths: Greek myths and others as well

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Several have wondered: who are we and why do we do this?  What exactly is this “Tapestry of Bronze?”

First, our names are Victoria Grossack & Alice Underwood.  We sponsor this contest because we want to encourage excellence and creativity.  We’re using the same method used by the Greeks back in Classical Athens: competition.  Instead of olive wreaths, we offer money and certificates for prizes.  We especially want to encourage the under-18 because we want to support educators and students in our own small way.  The idea occurred to us – most appropriately! – when we were visiting the ruins of ancient Olympia in Greece.

Second, the Tapestry of Bronze is a series of interlocking novels.  They are set in the Bronze Age of Greece – several generations before the Trojan War.  This was known to many as the “Golden Age of Heroes,” but to us they seem to be made of bronze and not gold.  Our series is a tapestry, because the books tie together, but one book may focus on one character while another focuses on another.  Each book can be enjoyed separately, or the books can be enjoyed together.  As we state above, it is NOT necessary to purchase or to read our novels in order to enter the contests.  However, purchasing the novels helps to support these contests.

Not sure if you’ll like the books?  Then electronically download a sample at Amazon.  Clicking on the covers below will take you to that company’s website.

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Return to Home for Tapestry of Bronze

Do you wish to contact us?  Write to us at “tapestryofbronze” at “yahoo.com”

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You may be interested in visiting other parts of our website:

 

Our Books (in English)

      Jocasta

      Children of Tantalus

      The Road to Thebes

      Arrows of Artemis

      Antigone and Creon

 

βλία στα ελληνκα - Our Books (in Greek)

 

Odes to Olympians Contest Current:

 

Winners of Past Contests: Zeus  Hera Poseidon Demeter  Hermes Athena Apollo Artemis Ares Aphrodite Hephaestus

 

Pronunciation Guide

 

Maps (Thebes, Pisa/Olympia, Eastern Mediterranean)

 

The Stories Behind the Stories

 

Acknowledgements, Thanks, Bibliography and Links

 

About the Authors

 

The Highbury Murders

 

Victoria's Writing Classes

 

 

 

Buying our books helps support future contests!

 

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A real page-turner . . . a wonderfully nuanced novel that repays previous knowledge of its subject matter - but never requires it -- Historical Fiction Review

 

An absorbing, quasi-historical portrait of ancient Greece ... well-balanced update that maintains the original's mythic suspense. -- Kirkus, May 2005


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A world...as compelling as Tolkien's but more rooted in actual history...in the spirit of Graves's I, Claudius.
--
Bob Mielke, Professor of English, Truman State University

 

 

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The most amazing part of the series is how the authors retell the myths in such a way as to work for modern audiences.... definitely worth reading by fans of fiction and Greek mythology. --NS Gill, About.com, Ancient History

 

 

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