The Gorgon

Chthonic beauty is less blessing and more curse.
She was soft skinned before diamond scales flashed,
before blood turned acid and hair streamed to
a venomous, hissing river.

Before she was gorgon and eye contact
curdled skin to stone; that simple flesh
that would have welcomed her touch
before metamorphosis, she was simply
raped in the wrong location,
deflowering the temple of a virgin.
Even goddesses fall into blaming victims,
turning innocence to monstrosity
with one fickle curse.  And they called the one who did it

Wise.

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About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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58 Responses to The Gorgon

  1. brian miller says:

    goodness…what a story you built around her…the godess blaming her…or is that just what man says the goddess did…ha…we can twist the gods words to fit our needs….to call the one that did it was is probably the most chilling…

  2. Grace says:

    How interesting that you use gorgon image, the dreadful female creature ~ Calling the one who did it wise is the height of tragedy ~ An excellent write Susan ~

  3. mabhsavage says:

    Athena really did a number on her 😦 Lovely way to tell her story.

  4. Alice Keys says:

    Thanks for writing Greek Mythology. What a great story. This is not hte only time that a rape victim is punished for having been raped. What an old story. We’re not past it yet.

  5. heidi says:

    Wonderful Susan! I’ve also always felt bad for Medusa. This is a nice retelling of her story and another interesting take on what monsters really are.

  6. annotating60 says:

    great way to come at it. Nothing is new except for what sprouts from the medusa’s head–Pegasus and poetry which rebirth all stories as new and untold.

  7. I love this. Seeing villains as victims is my blessed curse.

  8. coreenamcburnie says:

    Greek mythology is a passion of mine and you’ve sure captured this myth. Great poem with a vivid juxtaposition.

  9. Fascinating and powerful portrayal, Susan. So easily with the common imagery associated with her we lose track of her suffering and the curse. She is seen simply as “monster”.
    I have always found it interesting how knowledge/wisdom is so often associated (in one way or another) with serpents, snakes, dragons…and in so many cultures. There is something strange about this combination of reverence and reviling, fear and attraction, fascination and yet revulsion….
    Guess it’s time for me to re-read Jung and Campbell…

  10. Wow, love this! Yes! Let’s redeem the medusa! She is such a strong symbol, and used even now as a way to ward off evil. I wear a pendant with her image quite often, and particularly on days when I am metaphorcally going into battle of some kind. This is a fantastic tribute! Thank you so much for posting this!! 🙂

    • Helen, thank you! I never knew that about her. I am glad she is remembered for her strength and protectiveness, things more important than her curse.

      • Exactly! There is an italian jeweller that I buy from who uses greek and roman motifs as intaglios – she did the medusa one I have and some others – and she tells the stories of how the images and myths are now seen. For the medusa she very much emphasises the protective element that is associated with her now, so it is pleasing to see that myths can be redemptive and the truer nature of the icons emerge. 🙂

  11. Rowan Taw says:

    Brilliant and subtle commentary on a contemporary problem with mythological/historical roots.

  12. Adura Ojo says:

    Really deep. Your use of Gorgon is creative, interesting.

  13. Whoa. Ouch. That ending is phenomenal. Such a gut-punch. The way you unfold the story ever so gradually, so that the reader isn’t even aware of your analogy until the end…so good. Oh geeze…best thing I’ve read in a long time.

  14. A truly dreadful tale, Susan, you build it well ~ I adore myth and mystery …

  15. aprille says:

    chthonic — what a word to wake up to.
    Incredible poem, full of the content of the thesaurus words you encourage.

  16. claudia says:

    Even goddesses fall into blaming victims,
    turning innocence to monstrosity
    with one fickle curse… i think there’s a warning in there for all of us to choose our words wisely and make wise descisions as well when it comes to how we deal we people

  17. The ways of the gods and goddesses often defy logic – their logic inscrutable but the consequences and fall outs of that logic are then lived by men and women, often with telling results. Are these gods and goddesses real or are humans projecting their vices, failing and preferences unto realms that defy challenge and understanding?
    Thanks for this poem – My sympathies for some of the characters from greek mythology have shifted!

    • Noel, thanks for the wonderful comment. Mine, too, is now shifting more to the victims made monstrous and the gods/goddesses, full of human frailty, unworthy of worship, but definitely deserve more study as archetypes.

  18. You have inspired me to reacquaint myself with her backstory. But I feel an inclusiveness in this. I love how you humanize the monster and touch on how we women sometimes make it bad for each other.

  19. Mary says:

    A strong write here, Susan. Tragic that even the goddesses fall into blaming victims. Definitely gives one pause.

  20. Bodhirose says:

    What a tragic tale which repeats itself to this day…when will we ever learn?

  21. Powerful reinterpretation of mythology, and I love the end.

  22. kkkkaty1 says:

    I needed a refresher on this mythology…it certainly pertains today..nicely written version and timely in that several young people just recently succumbed to the cruel (non responsiveness to their plight)..

  23. Linda Rogers says:

    Wow, nice imagery on this monster prompt.It’s a reminder as humans that we are born with good/bad traits and it’s how we integrate them that can make the difference. Powerful poem.

  24. You’ve brought poignancy and feeling into a story so old making it very alive. Well done, Susan 🙂

  25. Miriam E. says:

    ah Susan – you had me at the title… she is on my mind as well (as you might know)… tragic story… and still fascinating. beautifully done.

  26. Pingback: Meet the Gorgon – my shadow | Men will pause

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