"The Household Gods," John William Waterhouse, 1880, Wikipedia photo. For this poem Ionessa and Myra (kneeling).
“The Household Gods,” John William Waterhouse, 1880, Wikipedia photo. For this poem Ionessa and Myra (kneeling).

Of wealth and influence, Theron dealt in
Loans, collector of debts, possessions for
Drachmas, his kiosk at Greek agoras, luring
Vulnerable women, Trojan War widows,
Bracelet or necklace for food, amphora of
Olive oil, slender feet, bare breasts, display
Of nudity at his villa for few coins.

Like many perversions, Theron’s came from
Acts of mercy, families in need, discreet gifts
Without obligation until tempted by flesh,
Envious touching led to depravity, abuse
And manipulation, women subservient to
His desires, trance of poppy, bathing pools,
Sex only postponed payment of debts.

Such was plight of Ionessa, her seagoing
Husband’s ship capsized, missing, believed
Drowned, weeks she persevered, child at
Her breast, she visited agora, gold bracelet
Marriage gift, promised loan for drachmas
And its eventual return, survival for another
Month until her husband came home.

No interest in Ionessa’s bracelet or posses-
Sions, Theron desired her slender body, sex
On marriage bed, weeping womb ravaged too
Soon after giving birth, panicked eyes, tender
Nursing nipples, offenses committed in sight
Of household gods, Ionessa was splayed in
Shamed guilt, her virtue sacrificed.

Next morning, Myra, found her sister, Ionessa,
Semi-conscious, bruised and blood-smeared,
Her infant son soiled and unfed, bracelet and
Honour stolen.  At agora, Theron paraded her
Jewelry for wine and sexual favors, more
Young women enticed into compromise,
Drugged and defiled in darkest of delights.

Ionessa and Myra prayed to Apollo and to his
Huntress sister, Artemis, protector of young
Women. At their household altar, they made
Votive offerings, burnt flower petals, myrtle
Leaves, figs and fruit. Angered, Myra plead for
Ionessa’s recovery, godly forces would bring
Vile Theron his deservéd fate.

O! Paris and Achilles, poisoned arrow guided
By Apollo, Artemis took aim at Theron whilst
Flaunting his stolen wares, hornet stung his
Ankle tendon, metallic taste of venom closed
His throat, he fell to agora streets. Clutching
Ionessa’s bracelet, Theron cursed the gods,
His life lost to debauchery and to self-ruin.

Recalling Aegisthus, Zeus harangued the immortal powers:
“Ah how shameless—the way these mortals blame the gods.
From us alone, they say, come all their miseries, yes, but
they themselves, with their own reckless ways, compound
their pains beyond their proper share.
Homer, “The Odyssey,” Book I.

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