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Ancient Greek Gods - Dionysus
Kudos to the first-place winners of the Odes to Olympians contest honoring Dionysus (also known as Bacchus).  E.M. Eastwick of Guam won first place in the adult category with “The Vine Is Divine,” and Rachael Berhan with “Dionysus (Haiku)” won first place in the category for under 18.

Honorable mentions in the adult category include: Michael Luke, Karen Pape, Chris Kitowski, Keith Casto, Nate Worrell and Dominic James.

Honorable mentions in the under 18 category include: Jenny Jung, Reggie Kramer, Kestrel St. Clair and Esomike Nuel

 

With this contest, honoring Dionysus (Bacchus) we have finished honoring the twelve Olympian gods.  Hence, this is the last contest – at least for now.  We thank everyone who participated, and we invite you to read the poems for the other gods too.

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If you like prose: Why not buy and read our books?  Or give them to friends and loved ones for holidays or birthdays or just because?  Jocasta tells the story of Oedipus but from the point of view of his mother-wife (and has been chosen by some high schools as a companion read to Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex – but don’t let that put you off!).  The Niobe trilogy, Children of Tantalus, The Road to Thebes and Arrows of Artemis mixes myth and archaeology to give the story of an ancient mass murder – and is a great read for those who have finished Percy Jackson and want to spent more time with the Greek myths.  The books are available both electronically and in paper.  Antigone & Creon: Guardians of Thebes, the most recent offering in the Tapestry of Bronze, has been praised by eminent reviewers.

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If you teach mythology, check out our new Teaching Mythology page, with ideas and resources for educators.  We intend to keep adding to this page and we’d value your suggestions and input as well. 

 

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The Vine is Divine

by E. M. Hudson

 

I will soar through your bones and swim in your skin,

Dance in your eyes and soften the sin.

The vine is divine if you know how to tend it.

Sorrow is joy if you know how to mend it.

 

The fruit is forgiving; red will forget.

I'll blanket the pain and swallow regret.

Blindness will save you. Enter my soul.

Open your fist. Surrender control.

 

Forget what they taught you - fanciful fiction.

They cower and cringe and call it addiction.

But I know the secret lies deep in the earth,

And high in the heavens. Dying. Rebirth.

 

Love never dies. Grow with me now.

I'll tend to your wound and comfort your brow.

Knuckles in dirt will guide me to you.

Shoots from your heart will bend as they do.

 

So, join me in death. Join me and live.

Together, forever, reborn to forgive.

Kiss me, dear Ampelos; leave not a stain.

Through the weak and the merry, we will love again.

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First Prize Winner: Under 18 Category

 

“Dionysus (Haiku)”

Rachael Berhan

 

Green coils of fresh grapes,

Goblets of wine raised in his name,

Red with violence.

 

Offered food and drink,

Olympians praise this God,

Born of a mortal.

 

Broad grape leaves crown him,

Robes of deep purple drape thick,

Gold garnished robes.

 

Man short in stature,

And his personality;

Brave and outspoken.

 

Creativity,

patterns of grapes, leaves, vines,

Art made of splendor.

 

Euphoria hits,

Engulfed in illusion,

Drunken with slumber.

 

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Honorable Mentions - Adult

 

MICHAEL LUKE

 

Bacchus Asks "is it monday already?" (Anacreontic)

Squeeze another grape, my friend,
raucous days are quick to end.

Night-time's cloak holds dark allure,
life can hurt but Wine's the cure
plucked from vines for wanton whims.
Sing your brash unholy hymns;
guzzle gladly, dance with zest,
swagger forth on lark-some quest,
ditch restraint in Champagne's kiss
(morning haze is seldom missed).

Brand the flesh with lusty whips,
heal the welts with teasing lips,
savour nectar tongued from skin
cherry-ripe and made for sin -
sweet is sweet but naughty's nice -
writhing, dripping, tasted twice.
Weighed against a flesh affair
sleeping's neither here nor there.

Dip your cup into the bowl
rouse your senses, lose control,
bawdy shindigs charge the soul;
rattle bass and bang your drum,
Death's the day we'll all succumb.

 

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KAREN PAPE

 

Dionysus’   Head

Hangs in the Monastery

Of St. John, the nexus

A friend says, of faith.

I am caught in the god’s

Enigmatic white gaze

Here-but not here- as

I taste the wine

At this crossroad

Of now and long ago

Of thousands of years

Past when we were young

Enough to caper in

The divine light

Our dithyrambs

Not tragic, but bold.

 

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CHRIS KITOWSKI

 

Dionysus

 

I watch you live at the tavern each night,

Holding court with shots and pitchers of beer.

Unkempt curly hair and body so slight,

So gorgeous, so sexy, so cavalier.

 

You are a rock star with your groupie crowd.

Those crazy sluts can’t love you like I can.

Must I reveal my hand, pull back my shroud?

True love for you might be another man.

 

I watch you die across the bar each night.

Those whorish Maenads do nothing for you.

Look up, truly really see me tonite.

Look up; I could not live to be refused.

I need to be in you and you in me;

Trapped in marble's eternal ecstasy.

 

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KEITH CASTO

EVERYBODY HAVE FUN TONIGHT

 

Hail, Bacchus, thou crazy god

(Well, slightly crazier anyway than that other lot):

Step up and see what thou hast wrought:

The trees, the nymphs, and the satyrs

Dance

Not knowing rite from wrong

And not caring

Not caring

Not caring

Never

No!

 

Ha, Bacchus, now the humans come,

And they perhaps the craziest of all:

Shedding clothes and shedding reason,

Now the vintage is in season,

Wild

They lift and lift the cup

Not slowing

Not slowing

Not slowing

Never

No!

 

Stay, Bacchus, stay and watch the dance

As mad, they spin and spin and spin,

Man and maids, and nymphs and trees;

While bright behind their whirling heads

The moon is rising

Moon is rising

Moon is rising:

Lo!

 

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NATE WORRELL

Drinking with Dionysus

 

At the bar on Grand & St. Clair, you sit twirling the curls in your hair

Watching a man shake his head

Wondering why he just said

Forget beer, I'll have wine instead

Pour me a glass of house red

 

Now you slide to the bar, and she has no clue who you are

But she loves your light whispers

And brush of your whiskers

Against her ear. It spurs

Her to laugh and he hears her

 

He turns at the sound and cuts through the crowd

You stand behind him

He feels Herculean

He makes a move

And she approves

 

Ecstatic and warm, they dance and drink until morn

Chasing the fires

Of carnal desires

Until they eventually tire

 

As the sunrise pries at their eyes they begin to rationalize

She says she was out of her mind

I behaved like a beast he opines

You assure them all will be fine

And offer a drink from your vine

 

When the sips hit their lips they awaken

Finding themselves perpetual patrons

With maenads and satyrs and other waiters, at the bar on Grand & St Clair.

 

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DOMINIC JAMES

 

The Drunken Ship,
Ode to Dionysus

 

The sleek coat of the panther
glides against your thigh,
you peep about the scented leaves,
plump grapes are in your hands;
your chuckle’s like a child.

Yours was a wise and merry eye,
but where I find you sleeping
in your corner of the hold
and prise apart your heavy lids,
waxy from excess:

your eyes are filled with madness.
Green shoots that start
from seasoned lumber
are the tendrils of your dream,
the grape is key to your old song:

They brought you to the sea
and took you on the wild ship,
opened up their jars of red,
and partied to despair:

leopards prowled the quarterdeck,
monkeys chattered from the sheets,
parrots cried from stern to bow,
in the cabins entered snakes

and men and women raved around
a drunken ship.  Exhaustion
took them by both head and hip,
dumped them overboard…

You hear me, son of lightning,
yes, a smile plays at your lips.

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Honorable Mentions – Under 18

JENNY JUNG

 

Ivy Boy, Ivy Boy

Dancing In Clusters Of Burgundy

raise glasses, slap asses

to-and-fro, chatoyant eyes blinking

 

Harmony Of Flutes And Panthers

gently woven, from madmen on ships

that colloquial breath

Apologies To Fair, Cursed Semele

 

swirls of ebony swilling down alabaster shoulders

voice like vines creeping down marble pillars

flutist fingers, panther palms, tiger tails

Enchanted, Enchanted

 

Hermes held You upon Your heel, and

Zeus had cradled Your Egg. Supplanted Hera,

they said, because she loved too much-

and You don't like love, do You?

 

Ivy Boy, Ivy Boy

you have tears of hot and bitter wine

laughter is Empty, and

you like Empty because it's all you know.

 

Keep laughing, but

mark my words. One

day, when the magic leaves you,

you won't be Empty any longer.

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REGGIE KRAMER

 

Bacchanalia

 

I sing to laureled Bacchus,

The primeval reveler,

To descend to the paved streets,

See, for the last time, what we, your followers, have become.

Behind the padlocked doors

Of Rome’s foremost men,

Thousands are drunk with your spirit.

The goblets filled with your blessed fruit

Are the grand makers of unity—

Actors and senators in sync with each other,

And not with the city.

The couches laid with gilded silk

Are the intimate meeting place of motion and emotion—

Heaving, sweating, animalistic bodies encounter

Exorbitant pleasure.

I sing to laureled Bacchus,

Not to save us,

From the armed vigiles storming the villa,

But to thank you,
For the time we spent away from this world.

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KESTREL ST. CLAIR

 

Autumn Revelry

 

The vine is heavy with violet fruit

The bath is ready for the wine

The satyrs’ flutes are tuned, are tuned

It’s autumn time again!

Everybody sings!

Everybody plays!

It’s autumn time again!

Maidens dance, their white skirts twirling

Young men twirling, twirling too

And vine leaves crowning all their curls

It’s autumn time again!

Everybody dances!

Everybody laughs!

It’s autumn time again!

There in the middle amongst the youths

He dances ever faster, faster

King of vine leaves, king of Fall

Bacchus cries, “It’s autumn time!

Everybody live!

Everybody love!

It’s autumn time again!”

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ESOMIKE NUEL

MIRROR IN THE WINE

Last night
I saw Bacchus spitting image
Clearly in the mirror
Of a lifeless wine
Staring blankly at me
Before
The pond's glass was shattered
Into countless ripples
A chorus of partying souls,
echo Dionysus's maenads,
Endless whisperings of a thousand satyrs,
Cauldron of love bubbling with ecstasy
This is the story of the god's life
Stories stained with blood of lusty vines
In a thousand lusty wines
Dionysus, listen kindly
Quickly bring me a beaker of wine
So i may wet my mind
And say something clever
For tomorrow we shall die
But alas we never do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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, The Copperfield Review

 

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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

 

 

Very strongly recommended. 

- Steve Donoghue, Historical Novels Review Online

 

 

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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, 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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