hooded shadow

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 ☘ ☘ ☘

☘ ☘ ☘ ☘ ☘

hooded shadow

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.

8 comments

  1. Oh, the heartache in the final two verses!!! “You shall never know this Dido for the rest of all time…” To love so much and this be the outcome. Definitely tragic!!! Well written, my friend! A real tug at the heartstrings..,

  2. We have a shared passion for the ancient ways, myths and heroic characters. It is an inutterably sad poem. Part of its sadness for me lies within his failure to truly know her. His refusal to explore her offering & instead to pursue his perceived destiny.

  3. When I read “the turned back of a hooded figure” I immediately pictured how the burning coating peels back from an object as it burns and it gave me chills to think of her skin burning. Such a terrible self-sacrifice.

    1. SO true, Naomi. This love story had so much potential and inevitably lacked the grace to forgive… even in the afterlife. Sad. 🖤🙏🍷🌹✨

  4. Oh boy! Still happening to ordinary people of today. The one who walks away from love and the love that has been walked away from. Both lost for ever. And what happens to that love? It shrivels up and dies too. When there are so many existing without love how sad to know that some love has been thrown away.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I think that’s the meta message with this poem. Writ larger: cherish the love you have and always have the grace to forgive. Cheers 🖤🙏🍷🌹✨

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