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Icarus—
there is a rumour that your father killed you, that
he bent your wings until they broke and then
told you, "Fly."
If this rumour is true, then it lives in the throats of
those fragile boys who wear your death like Cain's mark,
whose tender hands split like swollen tomatoes when
they pluck strangled seabirds, whose
arms slump beneath the weight of their father's genius.
And this rumour lives on
the under-skin of their eyelids so that when they die
or simply sleep
they dream of their fathers
or maybe just of Daedalus, standing with
his hands full of feathers and wax,
their blood-flecked down under his fingernails.

your face is gone, icarus, you are a warning & a tragedy &
the patron saint of boys who will not listen but also you are a god, icarus,
a god to these boys and still, when you fell—
said Bruegel in oils, Auden and Williams in verse—
no one gave a damn.

But Icarus—
they also say that your father strained the sunlight into an amphora
and told you, "Drink," as he poured Helios
down your throat.
And if what they say is true, then those fragile boys,
wearing your death like an aureole or maybe a crown of thorns
will stumble to bed wrecked and sobbing
and on the fevered underside of their eyelids
they dream of themselves
or maybe just of you, wandering drunk up to heaven.
Phaeton caught you in his wheels and
this may be why you both are dead.
But sometimes they say that the wings ensorcelled Daedalus, that
he simply forgot you and left.
And that is why you fell. Is this true?
These boys do not have much time and they need to know.
Ternary form for the seventh #transliterations prompt here [link] I am haunted by the suspicion that a great deal of this poem is ham-handed, ._.

I was inspired by a host of things. First off, there was Anne S. Baumgartner’s A Comprehensive Dictionary of the Gods: From Abaasy to Zvoruna which implies that Icarus’s death might have been filicide. The entry, alas, was very short and the accusation relatively unsupported, except by the claim that Daedalus killed a nephew out of jealousy. But I was intrigued by the idea that Icarus’s death might have been caused by something besides his own idiocy.

I was further inspired (in a grasping, I WISH I HAD WRITTEN THAT kind of way) by two poems about Icarus’s fall: William Carlos Williams’s "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" and W. H. Auden’s "Musée des Beaux-Arts." (The poems were in turn inspired by Pieter Bruegel’s painting, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus.)

--

This poem was submitted to #theWrittenRevolution. My critique [link] for *Carmalain7's poem "i'm the designer."

--

Some questions:

1) Is there a sense of contrast between parts one/three and two? That contrast (ABA) is the whole point of the ternary form and I’m still a bit iffy about how well I managed it.

2) Is there a sense of story to this? Does it make sense? Or—perhaps these questions would be more relevant—what do you get from this? What does it say (or not say) to you?

3) Is there any point where my word choice is heavy-handed/obvious/could use a little work?

4) Do the biblical references (“Cain’s mark” and “crown of thorns”) seem out of place?

5) Do the line breaks make sense? Is there any place (specifically or in general) where they seem arbitrary?

Thank you so much for reading!
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-05-18
The Rumour of Icarus by ~Opus-T ( Featured by ikazon )
:iconwoundedwarriorg:
WoundedWarriorG Featured By Owner May 16, 2018  New Deviant
Icarus you dared to fly so high...
Mortals are not allowed to fly so high;
The gods saw you and they punished you.
You should have listened to your father Icarus.
Reply
:iconteenytinylynn:
teenytinylynn Featured By Owner May 12, 2018  Student General Artist
i love this. icarus was always my favorite story in greek mythology
Reply
:iconuberchimerism:
UberChimerism Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Never considered the possibility of foul play in Icarus's death... You've made this mythology buff learn something new! ^^
Reply
:iconsilverwolf51:
Silverwolf51 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
An interesting theory as to what happened. Thank you for bringing this new, possible turn of events to my attention, and your lovely verse with it!
Reply
:iconsilent--songbird:
Silent--Songbird Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow... I never knew that there was thoughts of foul play... Anyways! Amazing job my friend!
Reply
:iconoldsoul-mira:
Oldsoul-Mira Featured By Owner May 17, 2014  Student General Artist
1. it's a good contrast. repetition is good, if that is what you are asking?
2. no there is not much story to it - it's abstract poetry and it doesn't all make sense to me. for me, that means I am allowed to interpret it how I choose and the main reason I like this poem :>
3. if I had to pick one place, it would be in the 3rd stanza "they also say" maybe it would have been better to repeat the first stanza like you did in the next few lines, and said "there is a rumor" instead. but whatevs
4. I have not real the bible, so I did not understand Cain's Mark but I did understand crown of thorns. but I don't think it detracts from the thing on the whole
5. yes, I think they do. :)

lovely poem and congrats on the DD (I know i'm a little late ;_; )
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:iconericambm:
EricAMBM Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013   Writer
Beautiful poem. I love the classical references. With 99 comments I don 't think there is anything more I can add other then I like it, but here is comment #100.
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:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2013
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by =DailyLitDeviations in a news article that can be found here: dailylitdeviations.deviantart.… Congratulations on your DD!

Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by ing the News Article. Keep writing and keep creating.
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:iconanotheroddity:
AnotherOddity Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
:)
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Student Writer
:thumbsup:
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:iconfeverwreck:
feverwreck Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012
*Was routed here directly from your journal entry out of sheer excitement!*
Congratulations on the 2nd DD :heart: :heart: :heart: !!!! It's definitely well-deserved--such a gorgeous piece! I really regret missing this, and wish I could have been on more often to have read it sooner!
In response to your questions (sorry, long comment!):

1) Before reading your description, one of my favorite aspects of the poem's structure was the paralleled nature of parts one and three. The realization of that contrast between parts one/three and two caught me by surprise on the initial read--in a very good way--as in I was immediately reminded of part one and the significance of part two, but not before reading about this second aspect of the rumor. I thought the 'ABA' format seemed very natural and well-handled, here :].

2) & 3) There is SO MUCH story in this! Not necessarily because of how much was written, but because of the weight that each line carries; your word choice never seems forced, and neither does it ever seem vague. The ABA format really helps, here, for it seemed that the only explicit reference to the poem's story occurs in the second part--which is just enough to consolidate one's understanding and is not overbearing by any means!
I feel as though any child who has ever struggled with a restlessness in his heart can see his image mirrored in this poem. Hopefully I haven't misinterpreted, but I thought the poem illustrated beautifully the perhaps very private fears of those who can be perceived as too passionate and too willful. The rumor of Icarus tells these individuals that they will fail--that their outward passion due to very sensitive insecurities will destroy them for the very reason that they fear too much, love too much, want too much, etc., to listen with a level head in some of the times that matter most. Perhaps Icarus was too restless for his own good, but if the rumors are true, then his restlessness condemns him to fall, and no one would "[give] a damn" because the failure was to be expected.

4) The biblical references are very apt (for the long-winded reasons presented in the second paragraph of 2) & 3) xD)!! Cain's mark and the crown of thorns are both reminders, just as Icarus' death is to the sensitive children who see themselves in his person.

5) The line breaks, especially in the first part (around lines 10-13), are well-placed, I think. On the first reading I did stumble a little bit after line 10, but as I read on I found that I wouldn't have wanted the line breaks to have occurred anywhere else. If they hadn't been placed as they were, the fullness in lines 10-13 would have been lost, where, not only does the rumor live on, but it lives on the inside of the boys' eyelids, a constant image of foreboding.

Sorry for the long comment!! "The Rumor of Icarus" is beautiful in a way that has me gripped in an "I WISH I HAD WRITTEN THAT" manner xD. Your poetry is striking and compassionate and incredible--congratulations again on the DD :hug:!!
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
Sorry for the long comment? My dear, I am practically jumping out of my skin with JOY! I am going to read and savor this comment and then I am going to answer it as your wonderful, perceptive observations demand to be answered. Thank you so, so much!!! :tighthug:
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:iconherzeleid31:
herzeleid31 Featured By Owner May 27, 2012  Student Writer
Your line breaks lack integrity.
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
Interesting that you mention that - line breaks are actually one of the more difficult aspects of writing free verse for me. I'm still considering how I could edit this poem; do you think you could expand on your comment? How/where exactly do the line breaks lack integrity? (I know I'm replying to your comment terribly late, so I totally understand if you would prefer not to revisit this. But if you would care to, I would really appreciate it, [: )
Reply
:iconherzeleid31:
herzeleid31 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Student Writer
I apologise for this reply being a bit tardy as well. I really think you have a great poem here, especially your imagery. Line breaks were one of the hardest things I had to learn to control when I broke away from being a formalist, so I understand.

Try to always break lines on "strong" words. "...father killed you, that" is ended on "that," which makes the line weak. I'd suggest breaking it on "you." The same goes for "...lives in the throats of," I would suggest breaking on "throats." Usually, it's suggested in workshops to not end on prepositions, conjunctions, etc... to avoid stripping integrity from the line. That was my only critique for your poem, really, besides the lack of a capital letter for your third stanza when the other two have them. :D

I hope that helped. Good writing!
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you so much for the explanation! You've taught me something new - I wasn't aware that breaking on prepositions, conjunctions, etc. weakens the line. But it makes sense, especially considering that the same suggestions applies to prose.

Thank you again!
Reply
:iconsigma-echo-seven:
Sigma-Echo-Seven Featured By Owner May 20, 2012  Student Writer
Such emotion and power! An excellent piece!

The biblical references do stand out with the contrast between Greek myth and Judeo-Christian myth, but I believe that the similarity in the implications of the stories (a "father" being responsible for the death of his "son") is a strong enough poetic comparison that they do not disrupt the overall impact. If anything, the comparison enhances it, and so I'd leave them in.
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:iconladyofgaerdon:
LadyofGaerdon Featured By Owner May 19, 2012  Professional Writer
Ooh this is just amazing. What a fascinating concept! Congratulations on the DD!
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you so much! When I read those speculations about Icarus's death being filicide, I knew I had to explore the concept somehow. I'm glad you enjoyed the result, [:
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:iconladyofgaerdon:
LadyofGaerdon Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2012  Professional Writer
You're welcome. :)
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:iconbrassteeth:
brassteeth Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
Strong holding of myth. Congratulations.
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconpedturon:
PedTuron Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
That was a pleasure to read. I studied both of the poems you were inspired by this semester, and yours definitely fits nicely with them! Well written!
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
Ooh, it's great to hear from someone familiar with the poems! Thank you for commenting, ^_^
Reply
:iconraikoodragon:
RaikooDragon Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Powerful words~ I re-read it twice just to hear them portray through my mind.
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you so much, :]
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:iconbobscookie:
BobsCookie Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Student General Artist
:heart: !!
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
=D :heart:
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:iconlnfection:
lnfection Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Professional General Artist
2) Is there a sense of story to this? Does it make sense? Or—perhaps these questions would be more relevant—what do you get from this? What does it say (or not say) to you?

I am an average person with average writing and reading capabilities, and i must admit i voiced an audible "what" after reading it for the first time. It was the type of "what" that you say when you are sure you heard something, but you couldn't discern the exact words, or maybe you discerned a word or two, but not enough to understand the sentence spoken. This poem presents its meaning mysteriously, and i could find it, but it would require five or so readings and heavy thought.

First impressions granted me a few things, however; as much DD poetry tends to be contemporary cause-related, my mind auto-contextualized this into a child abuse setting. The sense of urgency at the end emphasized it. But the shift between having known Icarus in the beginning to having forgotten him in the end makes me think it probably isn't related to that topic at all.
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:icontheawesomemeerkat:
TheAwesomeMeerkat Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Student Writer
Pieces like this are why I need to read more poetry.
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
You are truly too kind, :heart: Thank you.
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:iconneutral-death:
Neutral-Death Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
That was so beautiful, it gave me gas. Not really, but that is still one of the best pieces of poetry I've ever seen!
Reply
:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
Now gas would be a novel reaction...

Thank you for the comment! (And the laugh, xD)
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:iconneutral-death:
Neutral-Death Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome on both accounts.
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:iconneonblobfish:
NeonBlobfish Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
You should officially publish this work. There are so many things that you can get out of this story that it seems like something right out of an official book of poetry. 5/5
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
Aw, thank you so, so much for that!
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:iconneonblobfish:
NeonBlobfish Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
Not a problem at all. :D
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:icontonepainter:
tonepainter Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Well deserved DD. Great job!
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you!
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:iconmetacat66:
Metacat66 Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, that was amazing.
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you muchly, <3
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:iconmetacat66:
Metacat66 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
your welcome :)
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:iconwingedicarus1:
WingedIcarus1 Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
I can't say a word on how awesome this is!!!
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
Your intrepid effort to say something anyway delights me, <3 Thank you.
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:iconterrajaide:
Terrajaide Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
Awesome. :D
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
Thanks, :]
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:iconakjsnksa:
Akjsnksa Featured By Owner May 18, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is lovely and very deep, you have a lot of talent! Congrats on the DD, you really earned it! <3
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you! :bow:
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:iconfire-chan9490:
Fire-Chan9490 Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
My jaw is gaping open. How do you poetry, this is amazing. *______* (AND GREEK MYTHOLOGY AND ICARUS AND ALL THE REFERENCES CAN I LOVE YOU NOW)
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:iconopus-t:
Opus-T Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2012  Student Writer
YOU MAY LOVE ME NOW.

xD I love a good mythological reference. I'm glad you enjoyed this, :heart:
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