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AthenaKudos to the winners of our Fall, 2010, Odes to Olympians contest, honoring the goddess Athena!  Peter Goulding of Ireland won the contest for adults with his poem, A meeting with Athena, while Kaitlyn Linsley won the under-18 competition with her poem, I, Minerva.

 

As always, judging poetry is a difficult task.  We received several hundred entries into the competitions.  So we also want to draw your attention to those who received honorable mentions.  The Adult Honorable Mentions include: Christi Thomas-McEachern; Barnaby Dromgool; Lisa Mathews; and Jen Wang.  In the under-18 category are Sam Cardosi, CJ Rausch, Leighton Suen.

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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The Tapestry of Bronze is a series of novels set in Bronze Age Greece. 

 

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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To see our novels at Amazon, available in either hardcopy or electronic formats, click on the covers below.  Your purchase helps support future contests!

 

 

 

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Peter Goulding

First Place Winner – Adult

 

A meeting with Athena

 

As I beneath the olive tree took shade,

a warrior approached with golden shield.

She bore a mighty spear, uncommon made,

in which great shafts of lightning were concealed.

And round her patient shoulders was revealed

a snake-trimmed cloak adorned with monstrous head.

She strode with purpose o’er the blackened field

to where I lay, transfixed, as if struck dead,

frozen to the spot with purest dread.

 

The goddess said, “I made it in my youth,

this olive tree wherein you flee the sun.

Rest well, for herein lies a simple truth

that through the web of ages has been spun.

         Though wars have raged and battles have been won,

this tree still offers shade and luscious fruit.

Fear not, for though you mortals are undone

and suffering grows daily more acute,

still has my tree a deep and sturdy root.”

 

Then she was gone and I leapt up in fright

and turned and turned, but no-one could be seen.

My heart banged loud, my face was cold and white,

remembering her ghastly pelerine.

I had no notion how long I had been

asleep, but now the sun appeared more tame.

And so I took a swig from my canteen

and set off down the path with heart a-flame

toward the bustling town that bears her name.

 

Some words from Peter Goulding: For years I used to watch Mastermind on the telly and was well aware that the Greek mythology questions were always my Achilles Heel, so to speak. However, it was only due to the Tapestry of Bronze competitions that I actually took the trouble to research the characters and the stories. And it has opened up a whole new world to me, for which I am truly grateful.

 

*

 

Kaitlyn Linsley

First Place Winner – Under 18

 

I, Minerva

 

My eagle side
predominates the unseen in my night-owl life.
Father calls me mediator,
a great-horned over-looker of man and his wars.
As a god(ess), I'm not beyond
the strategy of dressing up for battle. I extended
Odysseus' hours because the time was ripe:
evening, the result of my will.

In preparing for my birth, Father contemplated. (I thought as much.)
When upon him fever fell, I stood in and came from
his fertile, female scalp. But of course, I existed long before my birth,
even though I never knew the place of gestation--deep in the wombs
of women. More than a cave, my exoskeleton (I am all outer)
is armor; I was born fully clad.
To take food or give tears and blood--these have always been reactions
too low for me. Like an overwhelming thought, I am at all.

The long haul of halls and intimidating constructions were nothing
in light of my battlefields, housing a god(ess) such as me.
At present watching Eris follow Eros, I am reminded
that my wars come from a special realm of passion:
my womb, never knowing stigmata or pear. I submit
only to the promise of final triumph.

My sword's eye and identity, its reflective span,
reflects my rank of thought:
the sword-play of slice or stab.
The slice meets two shining eyes that look
for solace in the medium of cutting. Father slices
skies in the dark. I, Minerva,
stab only what I know.

 

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Christi Thomas-McEachern

Honorable Mention: Adult

 

The Wisdom of Silence

 

Touring through Greece, when I knew it all,

I bought a statue of Athena

To show my eleven students

The shallowness of their

Purchases of Greek jewelry and T-shirts.

 

They didn’t listen.  I spoke louder.

 

Blowdryers blew the power on our ship.

They fumbled for their bracelets in the dark.

I grumbled until I heard a crack

And found the Goddess of Wisdom

Left thoughtlessly on my cabin floor.

Her mouth was chipped away, and I was

Righteously angry--at everyone.

 

They didn’t listen.  I spoke louder.

 

Once home, I grew ill, and toured doctors’ offices.

I bought magnetic bracelets and

Prayed to Christian statues for intervention.

Athena hung from my wall, mouthless.

With the pain, came impatience and loneliness.

Misunderstandings grew until one morning

Athena spoke to me.

She said, silence. 

 

Suffer and listen.  Speak to praise.

 

Her wisdom has restored me, not to health, but serenity.

 

*

 

Barnaby Dromgool

Honorable Mention: Adult

 

Erichthonius’ Pledge

The walls of this chest are not so thick
That I cannot hear Cecrops’ daughters' gossip.
At night your servant, my cellmate
Coils about to hiss stories
Into thirsty ears,
So even now I know
Something of this world
Gaia grew me into.

Athena:
My protector, my author,
My conception shames you, though
In wisdom you allowed my days.
Should I ever leave this rotting vessel I vow
Your clemency will be rewarded.

By spear and shield
I will liberate your city
To rule in Justice and educate
Your favored people, making
their harvests bounteous,
their mines productive. I
Will honor you with many temples, and ride
My chariot to the glory of the gods, so
When at last I die, your father sees fit to
Write my name forever in the heavens.

And, proud Athena,
Athena the mind of God:
On that day I dream
You finally call me son.

 

*

 

Jen Wang

Honorable Mention: Adult

 

Patron Goddess of Girls with Glasses

 

She, the bright-eyed girl

Who was never a child,

Is the one we want to be like,

The one for which

We, the night owls,

Burn the oil at midnight—

An offering.

We ask for her guidance

In defeating the Gorgons

We encounter in the halls

And winning against older males

With an olive branch.

We hide among books,

Weaving neural networks,

In hopes of becoming brilliant

Like her, the instructor

Who showed us how to sharpen

Our wits and shield ourselves

From temptations.

Fully armed,

We will enter the world,

And when we turn into women,

We still pray to her,

Asking not for beauty or

Domestic talents,

But for cunning strategies,

Like the generals who serve her,

To win love’s battle.

 

*

Lisa Mathews

Honorable Mention: Adult

 

Athena Under My Roof

Athena sleeps across the hall
Manga-style spikes fall across her forehead
Resting from a day's labor in Orpheus' nest
Intellect is not neat
I check on her before I collapse in sleep, treading carefully among the
4 art pads of unfinished drawings: dragons, anatomical studies of the hand, a pencil slashed still life of an egg, laurels bathed in blood for an album cover
Algebra II text, World History text, Julius Caesar, and French workbook
Crumpled efforts at the next chapter of the novel
Mismatched socks next to the gold-lame lined opera cape and black cargo pants set out for the next day's journey into school
Today she raged about the injustice of easy honors classes, laughed aloud at her brother's joke (Mercury favors this one!), and worried about career choices in a world that
says the old gods are dead and myths are just stories
Does Athena live?
I smile as I smooth the covers over her, goddess of wisdom reborn

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Sam Cardosi

Honorable Mention: Under-18

You gaze down with storm cloud eyes.
That squall, though, won’t hide your lies.
I see through that misty glow.
Τεν αληθεια ξερο

Wisdom, your gift as heiress,
Flees, post judgment of Paris.
All because he chose your foe.
Τεν αληθεια ξερο

Justice echoes in your halls,
Just as did round Trojan walls.
But do they still stand tall? No!
Τεν αληθεια ξερο

Lies you hate above the rest,
Unless spear they put to chest.
Much to Priam’s tearful woe.
Τεν αληθεια ξερο

I’ve shown you a hypocrite,
Why the gods would laude such wit!
Here your myth shall cease to grow,
For it is the truth I know.

Τεν αληθεια ξερο is Greek for “I know the truth,” or, to go along with the final line of Sam Cardosi’s poem, “For it is the truth I know.”  Although we both liked this poem, it could not win first prize, as the rules specify that winning poems must be in English.

*

C. J. Rausch

Honorable Mention: Under-18

Gray Eyes

 

Do you feel it?

The gray eyes watching

watching over our looms

our smithing tools

our crafts and our projects?

Do you feel them on your back

When we march to war

or the hero embraces their fate?

Do you feel them in Athens

or under an olive tree

or in the temples

or in the guilds

Like an owl's eyes

Do you feel them in your mind?

When you talk strategy

when you plan something

when you think?

Do you feel the eyes of Athena

watching you?

 

*

 

Leighton Suen

“The Tale of Arachne from Athena’s POV”

 

I heard a rumor about my student Arachne

Apparently she thinks she’s better than me

I, Athena, Goddess of Crafts and Strategy

How naïve in nature can this girl be?

 

She’s a mere mortal; I’m a deity

I can weave like: one, two, three

The one in error here is… she

I’m going to have to see her ASAP

 

So you want a little weaving contest

To try to prove that you’re the best

Please tell me this is just some jest

My patience is what you’re starting to test

 

I finally decided to compete at your behest

And I’ve toiled for hours now with no rest

At last, I think that all present can attest

That my tapestry is undoubtedly best

 

It contains scenes of Athens, my beloved city

When I opposed Poseidon, God of the sea

Of course, I achieved complete victory

What better moment can be in history?

 

 Oh. No. You. Didn’t.

 

I cannot believe that scenes on your tapestry

Include a few portraying my father’s infidelity

Are you trying to enrage or infuriate me?

Because I feel myself getting quite angry

 

Ha ha! Silly girls think they can beat me

Better leave the weaving to the Queen Bee!

I admit that Arachne had skills – that I agree

But there can only be one with true mastery

 

Have a nice life as a spider!

 

 

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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 Athena

Winning Odes to Apollo

Winning Odes to Artemis

Winning Odes to Ares

Winning Odes to Aphrodite

Winning Odes to Hephaestus

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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, if you like mythology, or historical fiction, or simply a good read, then click on one of the covers below to see the books at Amazon.  Available in hardcopy and/or electronic format – you can start reading them today! 

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COT_cover_thumbnail (2)   RTT_cover_thumbnail (3)  

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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“A wonderfully nuanced novel”

 

COT_cover_thumbnail (2)

“Five quills”

 

 

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“Very strongly recommended”

 

 

“A crackling good read”

 

Newly released

 

 

 

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 & 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

 

 

 

jocastacover_thumbnail (3)

“A wonderfully nuanced novel”

 

COT_cover_thumbnail (2)

“Five quills”

 

 

RTT_cover_thumbnail (3)

“Very strongly recommended”

 

 

“A crackling good read”

 

Newly released

 

 

 

jocastacover_thumbnail (3)

“A wonderfully nuanced novel”

 

COT_cover_thumbnail (2)

“Five quills”

 

 

RTT_cover_thumbnail (3)

“Very strongly recommended”

 

 

“A crackling good read”

 

Newly released

 

 

 

 

 

jocastacover_thumbnail (3)

“A wonderfully nuanced novel”

 

COT_cover_thumbnail (2)

“Five quills”

 

 

RTT_cover_thumbnail (3)

“Very strongly recommended”

 

 

“A crackling good read”

 

Newly released

trongly recommended”