For those of you who regularly read my poetry, you know I often interject allusions to mythology, Celtic legends, the bible, literature, etc.
I fundamentally believe that allusion helps thicken a poetic stew. It requires you to think, sometimes research, to truly capture the poem’s deepest emotion.
The allusions in this poem refer to the myth of Dido, the Carthaginian queen, and Aeneas (ala Virgil’s The Aeneid) the Trojan hero destined to found Rome.
The Trojans are shipwrecked in Carthage. Dido falls in love with Aeneas (with an assist from Cupid’s arrow). While himself in love, Aeneas is torn between love and destiny, knowing it is the will of the gods for him to found Rome. He chooses duty, and Dido burns herself alive on a pyre as he sails away.
ARGH! The horror! The heartbreak! Dare I say… the tragedy!
Here’s the thing… for context… Dido was a proud and powerful woman. A queen of a vast empire. Not some knock-kneed kid with a grade school crush.
This poem takes place in the Underworld when their two souls pass. Written from Dido’s point of view, the drama builds to the final stanza, which (for me) is one of the saddest things I have ever written. Tried to read it to my wife and kept choking up.
Hope you love this poem half as much as I do. Please leave Comments below, if so inspired.
-PS Conway ☘ ☘ ☘
☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘
you pass near me in the Underworld,
i would know your scent anywhere,
desire yearns yet close at the mere
thought of your touch, your gentle lips,
all this time passed, still memory burns
for our lair on that Carthage coast
with nothing but the birds and sea
competing for the gods’ admiration,
for the grace to love and be loved,
to open my heart so full to
a foretold fool, forsaken to chase
your destiny in wolf-suckled twins,
i died for you, because of you,
burned whole in the pyre of love for you,
you shall never know this Dido
for the rest of all time, you shall
only see the turned back of a
hooded shadow weeping low in
a grove of gray silhouettes, fed
by the tears of what might have been.