“If it is true, alas, that I have exchanged blows with my father and killed him, but without premeditation, without knowing whom I was taking on, by what right would you blame me for an involuntary crime? And then my miserable mother, without shame you force me to remember that I have married her...she brought me into the world, but she knew no more than I what she was doing when she conceived, to her shame, my children.”
- Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus
How horrific to realize
that through the smooth upper thighs of this dark-eyed lover
I was borne years ago.
There was no evidence,
no child-bearing scars on her body;
her stomach was as firm as a young maiden’s.
Is sin a transgression when performed in ignorance?
How can my loin-desire, those nights in fragrant arms
be given such a foul name?
How is she my mother when another raised me?
Dead by her own hand, she left no note, no tremor of love
I find her body, rent flesh at the heart
as though she tried to cut me out.
Lips on her shadowed eyelids, I carry her to the vault where my father lies.
Then I go upstairs and pierce both my eyes.
The desert is comfort to a dead soul - the elements ignore ravaged men.
Messengers don’t recognize me & tell stories of the great fallen hero.
“He killed his father to marry his mother,” they say, leering shock.
No mention of Jocasta’s wild beauty, the ignorance of love.
I shake a coughing fit; these sightless eyes flood shame.
They forget I killed the evil Sphinx, ruled as King of Thebes;
I have become destroyer, outcast.
Rivalry is what I am remembered for.