Ariadne’s Reverie

Bambini, Niccolo - Ariadne and Theseus

Bambini, Niccolo - Ariadne and Theseus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The door of the labyrinth, so difficult, which none of those before could find again, by Ariadne’s aid was found by Theseus, the thread that traced the way rewound.”
~ Ovid, Metamorphoses (trans. Melville)

The story of Ariadne and Theseus is one of my favorite myths. It may be because Ariadne used thread in a creative way and I love handcrafted needlework. Or maybe it is her connection with the dark mysteries of the  labyrinth. Of course it’s a beautiful love story, too.

Here’s a simple version of the tale as an introduction to my poem. Ariadne lived on the Island of Crete with her father, King Minos.  It was here that Daedalus, commissioned by the King, built a labyrinth in which to hide a creature called the Minotaur. Anyone entering the labyrinth could not find their way out and became prey to the Minotaur. The Athenian hero, Theseus, came to the island one day with the purpose of slaying the monster and putting an end to this.  It seemed certain that Theseus would not come out of the labyrinth alive, but Ariadne had fallen in love with him and came up with a plan to save his life. She gave Theseus a clew of thread that he could unwind as he entered the labyrinth. He could then use it to find his way back to her after he had killed the Minotaur.  This he did. The story doesn’t end here. Planning to marry her, Theseus sailed away with Ariadne. They stopped at the island of Naxos and while Ariadne slept, Theseus abandoned her. That was the thanks she got for saving his life. But justice won out in the end.  Ariadne married a god and lived happily ever after. Poor Theseus ran into a bit of bad luck –  but that’s a story for another day.

Ariadne’s Reverie

Stiff tree branches
comb the sky,
carding ethereal wool
from the flocks
of Mount Olympus.

Ariadne walks below
gazing skyward,
plucking celestial fibers
from the heavens.
With skilled hands
she spins them into
pure crystalline strands.
A thread for Theseus.

Thinking of him, she muses.
He will take it
and use it as he wishes
to navigate the labyrinth
of her mind.

Lovingly spinning,
She thinks of nothing else.
She is yet to be abandoned,
lost in sleep and dreams,
on the island.

Clouds drift in their purity now,
the sky a soft-white tumbling blue.
The sun burns hot across the sky
and in her eyes.
Ariadne spins…

They have yet to enter
the labyrinth.

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18 Responses to Ariadne’s Reverie

  1. Stiff tree branches
    comb the sky,
    carding ethereal wool
    from the flocks
    of Mount Olympus.

    I have been on Mount Olympus and I can imagines this. Beautifully found.
    Paula

  2. Your poem is so evocative, lovely, and bittersweet… I love the metaphor of ethereal wool, celestial fibers and crystalline strands…

  3. Lovely! Beautiful imagery!

  4. bipolarmuse says:

    Wow! Absolutely stunning…

  5. Heard of Minos, Crete, and the minotaur; but never heard of Ariadne. Enjoyed this very much. Thanks! Beautiful poem.

  6. No greater fool than Theseus be, to abandon a love as resourceful as she.

  7. theobscurepoet says:

    thanks for the like and look forward to reading more on your site, it looks really interesting.

  8. sonofwalt says:

    Beautifully done, and good condensing of the mythology behind it.

  9. Pingback: mindscapes and galactic travels

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