Detail of painting "The Muses Urania and Calliope" by Simon Vouet, in which she holds a copy of the "Odyssey," circa 1634, Wikipedia photo.
Detail of painting “The Muses Urania and Calliope” by Simon Vouet, in which she holds a copy of the “Odyssey,” circa 1634, Wikipedia photo.

Present from the beginning, Calliope inspired
Homer, minor divinity, daughter of Zeus and
Mnemosyne, she lofted Homer’s mind to won-
Drous realms, to witness and recount horrific
Wars and odysseys grand, muse or companion,
Revelation of visions, spiritual awakening of
Poetic Soul and written verse.

For months, Homer dismissed whispered muse,
Woes to distract his eternal mind, phrased words
Persisting heart-fast upon grasping pen and
Papyrus, elegant verses rousing him to write
In failing sight by lantern to dawning light, tales
Of plighted heroes in Ionic Greek, transcending
Time, lapping Ægean shores.

Some say that Homer was no single man of
Hellenistic antiquity, but a collection of mythic
Writers, derived from Iliad and Odyssey, numer-
Ous cities claimed his birth, whether blind or
Not, this epic poet proved farsighted, Calliope,
As his companion, penned thoughts to recited
Verses, such acts Greeks unborn would relate.

As daughter of Zeus, Calliope first appeared to
Homer as reflections dancing on ocean waves,
Telling voices of sea breezes, annoyances with
Ease he dismissed. Next, shrieking arrows loosed
Became her clarion call, flashing points of light,
Such clamors that struck his ears and pricked
The poet’s heart.

"Leda and the Swan," 16th-century copy by Peter Paul Rubens, after a lost painting by Michelangelo, National Gallery, London, Wikipedia photo.
“Leda and the Swan,” 16th-century copy by Peter Paul Rubens, after a lost painting by Michelangelo, National Gallery, London, Wikipedia photo.

Thus fervent romance began, lovely Ægean
Maid, flesh and blood Calliope appeared, seduc-
Tive as Zeus’s swan to Leda, daughter of Aetolian
King, two eggs she laid within Homer’s mind,
Iliad and Odyssey, and like her Jovian father,
Such epic poetry burst forth from Homer’s
Raging brow, wielding mighty sword-like pen.

Upon their mortal bed, Calliope and Homer
Found ecstasy of flight, impassioned love
Beneath Attic vaulted stars, moonlit nights to
Dewy morn, pleasures of flesh, ambrosia
Of the gods, taste of buoyant milky breasts,
Helen of Troy was once again conceived by
Whispered words and lustful deeds.

As decades passed, Homer an aging epic poet
Attained regard and fame, tired of toils, his
Strength and sight declined, and being Zeus’
Musing daughter, Calliope aged not by Homer’s
Side. When his light turned to shade, Calliope
Ascended with Homer’s soul, epic verse forever
Bound above the Thracian plain.

On quiet ocean evenings, I hear musing voices
Call, lifting me to Ilion’s towering heights, words
And verses as reflections dancing on ocean
Waves, telling voices of sea breezes, ancient
Clamors that rally heart and mind, another
Story they tell: ancient gods and priestesses,
Enduring love twixt mortal and divine.

As dear Homer slumbers in eternal rest, Calliope
Visits in my dreams, boat pitching far from mad-
Ding shores, for muse and I acknowledge oceans
As a timeless realm, sacred at the dazzling helm,
To stare into the liquid sphere is to attain ancient
Past, visions of Athens restored, valiant Greeks,
Sighted oracles, reborn anew in poetic verse.

Inspired by Homer, this poem refers to Zeus and Leda. Of that seduction, Leda laid two eggs, from which Helen of Troy and Polydeuces were born. By Calliope and Homer, Helen of Troy was poetically conceived again. For Homer, Calliope inspired two “eggs”: the “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” which burst from his brow much as the fully armored Athena sprang from Zeus’ head. Other mythic parallels are present. Can you find another?  During the last 14 months, I have written ~68 Greek-related poems. 

Social profiles