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Statue Zeus

Kudos to the winners of our first Odes to Olympians contest (Spring 2008), featuring Zeus, or in the Roman form, Jupiter! Lisa Maloney won first prize in the adult category, while Helen Murphey won first prize for those under eighteen.

We received plenty of excellent entries. Therefore, we're including honorable mention poems down below. Please scroll down to enjoy poems by Rob Graber, Gautam Bhatia, Chris Faulk and Anne Westlund!  

Please come back for future contests!

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: line_R100_G0_B0_background_R206_G148_B116The 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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FIRST PRIZE WINNER - ADULT
“In the Words of Salmoneus

by Lisa Maloney

When I heard the thunder roll
I knew you'd found me out
that I should have crept, unnoticed
unworthy beneath your feet
instead of daring to ride out as
a god, girded, clothed in power
instead of borrowing your voice
as it called out the rain.
And yet
in the moment before you smote me
I knew
that as a god of thunder should,
I had finally
called down lightning from the sky.

* * *

Lisa Maloney resides in Anchorage, Alaska where the land is a never-ending source of inspiration. She's written poetry for fifteen years as a means of release, introspection, and celebration, but only recently started sharing it with the world. You can contact her directly at http://writerinfo.blogspot.com/.

We asked Lisa what inspires her, and she wrote: "Inspiration is hard to quantify. I people-watch, so I've seen many people pretend to be what they desperately wish to be, leaving themselves at the mercy of others for validation or destruction. By way of his pretense and falsehoods, Salmoneus actually does get what he wants... the ability to control the powers of Zeus - insert irony here - for just a moment. But he is also revealed as a pretender, and destroyed, in the very same stroke. It begs the question: Just how different are we from Salmoneus, really?"

Salmoneus was punished by Zeus for his impiety.

FIRST PRIZE WINNER UNDER 18
by Helen Murphey

he descends
a flurry of golden dust
drifting down to earth like powder
as he descends
light surrounds him
an envelope, a covering
to protect her eyes from the sheer brilliance
the full extent of the light
all those days residing in the tower
the weeks, the years,
they have been well spent
if she, danae, receives this reward
she rises
no words are spoken
no need
the light contains warmth
that floods her body like a waterfall
she cannot move her gaze away
as he descends
her eyes are fixed upon the light
all-consuming
all-encompassing
it moves toward her
casting a shadow of radiance upon her
as she too shares in the glory
with him
as he descends

* * *

We were both immediately impressed by this aspect of Zeus and his seduction of Danae in the form of a rain of gold. Congratulations to Helen Murphey! Helen lives in Michigan and says that she generally just loves to write, stories as well as poetry. We asked her what inspires her: "Nothing really beyond the myths themselves, which paint such beautiful stories that it's hard not to be inspired!"

Honorable Mention (Adult)
Jupiter's Shenanigans

by Rob Graber

To hide her from wife Juno's prying eyes,
Fair Io Jupiter a heifer made;
Astride a swimming bull on ocean's rise,
Europa by him rode, but grew afraid.
And Jupiter, as eagle, took to th' air
With Ganymede, the handsome Trojan boy,
And took him all the way to heaven, where
The gods could him as cup-bearer enjoy.
Callisto jealous Juno made a bear,
But bear too gentle in the wilds to stay;
So Jupiter raised her aloft, up where
She stays, as Ursa Minor, to this day.
Is it not nice, and not a little funny,
That antics of the gods trumped patron's money?

* * *

Rob Graber included a note with his poem: “The four moons of Jupiter discovered by Galileo, which he referred to, in honor of his patrons, as “Medicean Planets I, II, III, and IV,” after some two centuries came to be referred to by more colorful names alluding to Jupiter's exploits...”

Honorable Mention (Adult)

Zeus' Defense

by Gautam Bhatia

Begone! You phantoms of my darkest dreams
You wraiths that dangle adamantine chains
You ghosts that vex me with your silent screams
And dumb, recall me to his frightful pains
That I have bade him suffer in my ire
Exposed to summer heat and lashing rains
Upon that rock; no more, my sleep possess
Or call me slave to passion and desire
Unworthy god, who ever-fearful reigns
Dispensing justice, harsh and merciless

Come thou with me to these Olympian heights
And gaze upon the mortal world below
Think you these are communion's joyous lights
That bathe the darkling world in amber glow?
Then look again; these are the flames of War
That lay empires, realms, great kingdoms low
Now speak: was it indeed a wicked turn
To lock the secret 'pon Olympian tor?
I only wished to save my children woe
Bereft of flame, how would the earth then burn?

Think back upon the seas of flowing blood
Through barren wastelands of forgotten years
Think of the wrath, the grief, the raging flood
Of anguished laments and unnumbered tears
All that began upon that day of woe
When that proud Titan proved my deepest fears
Founded; and tell me, was it harsh, my ire
That burst in wrath upon man's cunning foe?
And doth my punishment yet harsh appear
'Pon he who gave mankind the curse of fire?

* * *

Many of Zeus' deeds are hard to understand by modern standards, such as his frequent infidelities. Another is his treatment of Prometheus, who disobeyed Zeus and gave mortals fire and writing and the wheel. For his disobedience Prometheus was chained to a rock and had his liver eaten every day by an eagle - the bird associated with Zeus. Although we don't agree with Zeus and his desire to keep fire and everything else out of the hands of mortals, we found his defense interesting and very much worth reading.

Honorable Mention (Adult)
Olympian Twilight

by Chris Faulk

First was Leto, lovely goddess
forced to wander far and wide,
She gave birth to twins immortal,
jealous Hera wished she'd died.
Starry Maia bore me Hermes,
messenger both fleet and wise
Maia gave her name to summer
Hermes found a Roman guise. *

Spartan Leda I then ravished
in the form of lusty swan,
from her egg came fatal beauty,
for Helen's love left Troy forlorn.

Then came Danae, lovely creature
unimpressed by showers of gold,
then was Io, cow-eyed Io
such a beauty to behold.

Mad with passion for Europa
My bull-form bore her through the land
all now know the name she left it,
as I seized her by the hand.

There were others, beauteous girls all,
many caught my eagle eye -
some were happy to be bedded,
some were wont to weep and sigh.

Gifts to Greeks I gave most gladly
in return for maidenhead.
Virgins, wives or goddess women
I would f--k them 'til they bled.

Now I sit alone and brooding
Hera's middleaged and slow.
All I think of are those women,
eyes so bright and skins aglow.

Silence dripping from the rafters,
ashes where there once were fires.
All the girls I loved and longed for
can now not waken my desires.
Olympus is a tourist site now
Gods and Titans turned to dust.
All I have now are sweet memories
of those days of love and lust.

* * *

This poem was disqualified because it exceeded the number of lines. Still, we appreciated the reference to his roving eye - and what has become of Olympus today. Chris Faulk also mentioned apologies to Byron...

Honorable Mention (Adult)

Zeus and Io

by Anne Westlund

Forever in his orbit
Part of the firmament
She circles ‘round
Volcanic in her beauty

To hide his love, his lust
A Holstein made
A cow running hither and yon
North to South
Italy to the Nile

(or a moth—eyes blinking
to ward off predators
as a child, a caterpillar
with poisonous spikes
to sting anyone who gets near)

Can you blame her, Io?
A gadfly set upon her flanks
And udders, by Hera
Whose jealousy is legend
And Zeus, his infidelities
Mythic, as well

Do you still blame her?
Whose descendent Hercules
Set Prometheus free
That stole fire for us humans
Without which we would still
Be cold in the dark

Do you blame her, Zeus?
In the scheme of things
Just a dalliance
One of many.

* * *

This poem combines many of the themes we saw above - Zeus' infidelities; the moons of the Solar System, and Prometheus - who was finally released from the rock to which he was chained.

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Visit the winning poems of other Odes to Olympians contests!

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

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.  Still, we think most of you will like them.  Click on one of the titles below to see them at Amazon – and if you want it electronically, you can start reading today!  If you’re simply not sure, then download a sample.  Your purchase helps support future contests.

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  COT_cover_thumbnail (2)   RTT_cover_thumbnail (3)  

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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 & 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

 

 

 

 

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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“A wonderfully nuanced novel”

 

 

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“Spellbinding entertainment”

 

 

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“Very strongly recommended”

 

 

Definitely worth reading”

 

 

Newly released!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

jocastacover_thumbnail (3)

 

 

 

COT_cover_thumbnail (2)

 

 

 

RTT_cover_thumbnail (3)

 

 

 

 

 

Newly released!