literature

Achlys Contemplates

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knittingknots's avatar
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Literature Text

Before Chaos
was I,
grief deeper than night
beating
in the dark heart of the universe.

Who will hear my tears,
wailing
through the winds of time,
grieving for each wrong,
each loss,
every hurtful thing
that man or god or fate
can inflict?

My tears,
they fall useless -
all die,
all fail
all come to me
in the end.

And yet,
I watch them,
their souls bright with hope,
each a small ray
of unquenchable light,
tiny motes
of brilliance
flickering
against the endless night -
hope and grief,
the two truths
behind all the masks.

Ah universe,
I will bear your pain -
you bring forth your light,
brilliant,
eternal,
unquenchable,
and just maybe,
maybe,
the sorrow would have been worth it.


A/N Achlys was, according to some ancient cosmogonies, the eternal Night (perhaps the Mist of Death, which clouded the eyes of the dying), born even before Chaos.. According to Hesiod, she was the personification of misery and sadness.
Contemplating the nature of grief and hope, from the point of view of a Greek goddess who was grief personified.
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Comments18
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Cibbwin's avatar
The most times I've ever seen the word 'tears' in a poem and liked it! :lol:

Gorgeous work, honey. You really made her plight seem equally hopeless and important

I don't know if you know much of Tolkien's writing, but this reminds me of Nienna.
knittingknots's avatar
I had forgotten about her! Yeah, I actually prefer the Silmarillion to LOTR...but it's been awhile. Thanks.
Cibbwin's avatar
Agreed, friend! I'm happy to hear that; I thought I was in the minority!
knittingknots's avatar
I like that one and his book of lays...those are my two favorites, although I also have a warm spot for Smith of Wooten Manor and Leaf by Niggle as well.

You and I might be in a minority here, but we certainly know what's good!
Cibbwin's avatar
I haven't read the book of lays, nor the other storybooks!

Indeed we do. Our taste is impeccable. Did you ever see 'The Children of Hurin,' the book Christopher Tolkien published in 2007? Great appendix, that. :)
knittingknots's avatar
I think I did, but I get all the books he put out confused...I will double check, and if not, remedy it!

If you haven't yet, you should one day give his translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the Pearl a spin...he did an excellent job. The Pearl is one of the best crafted of the medieval English poems, and his translation is great.

(My background in Medieval English Lit is pretty strong; at the time I was in college, I read about everything I could get my hands on, and took 3 different classes (all I could get) on it - Chaucer, senior level Survey of Medieval Literature, and a seminar on Arthurian Lit. Most through test in college I ever had was the mid-term on Chaucer...)
Cibbwin's avatar
I've wanted to read those translations; very badly indeed!

I've not read much Medieval English - or Medieval literature, period. I've read some of the Arthurian legends, and I've read the Decameron.
knittingknots's avatar
I've done the Decameron, and a huge amount of English texts...Piers the Ploughman, all the English language Arthurian stuff, and a big chunk of the Vulgate cycle (translated usually, Medieval French is not my strong point), Chretien de Troyes, various other sundry pieces, Mallory...and all the Welsh stuff in translation...but I didn't do it overnight, mind you...Arthurian and Medieval lit has been an interest of mine since I was fourteen or 15 and read the Once and Future King, and now I'm way past that...so I had plenty of time to do it. Back in my high point, I was really, really into the Grail Quest, and did some serious research on it, which I got to use both in two different term papers...one for my Arthurian seminar, and another for a Faulkner seminar (he intentionally patterned one of his books on the grail quest)...

I put that down for awhile, but I'm currently interested in playing with something based on the early strata of the Welsh material, where Arthur and his guys are more mythic and feel less like historical personages.

OOps...dang, didn't mean to drown you with one of my pet enthusiasms...Good thing you didn't get me talking about Michael Moorcock and the Eternal Champion...No doubt I could talk your ear even further off....
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roonerspism's avatar
This is rather haunting. And thanks for the info on Achlys too. It makes it even better to read.
knittingknots's avatar
Thank you! And yeah, some things are just needing a little explanation...She's a rather obscure figure, but interesting.
I love how gloomy and depressing it is at the start. But at the end there's this twinge of hope. Wonderful job!
knittingknots's avatar
Why thank you, ma'am...
virtualpapercut's avatar
You really are such a wonderful poet, my friend.
knittingknots's avatar
Why thank you, ma'am. I truly appreciate that.
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