Achilles’ fall

We called him hero, muscles-bulging-stud,
stallion, wrestler, runner, hunk of playboy
jack of spades, winner and the nation’s hope.
… until we saw his heel, the mark of needles,
weakness clear as pimples on his back,

the evidence of being dipped in styxian water;
pinched and pampered, mother’s boy;
high on steroid when he fell from grace;
cheater, scam and scab, he was ousted
bit the dust to end up working graveyard shifts

cleaning (not the Augean stables) but derelict
warehouse buildings for a minimum wage.
No arrow ever pierced his heel, but his muscles
shriveled, left him to a state of sag in flesh,
hollow husk; forgotten, bygone, lost, erased

The death of Achilles by Peter Paul Rubens

Brendan inspires us to write about heroes at toads. Every hero has a fall (from grace), and I think the fact that Achilles was dipped in the river Styx should have been considered doping in today’s world. Will also link up to Poetry Pantry tomorrow.

May 19, 2018

40 responses to “Achilles’ fall

  1. Well done … and who knows, maybe the only thing better than watching a hero rise is when they fall back to earth again. Which distance is greater, I wonder … thanks for joining the challenge!

  2. This is very sad really. There are many heroes who have this fate – sadly. I am thinking of the American cyclist Lance Armstrong….no hero after all.

  3. he evidence of being dipped in styxian water;
    pinched and pampered, mother’s boy;

    wonderful analogy – and yes, how for the price of glory, fame becomes gory, for the mistaken self identities … the price of paid in moments insane, for triumph to best …. but everything does matter in the end, process is slow achievement at best… and someone else will eventually come to dethrone and replace – only with a true gentleman’s (sportsman’s grace) does one know this from the start …

    great ideas in this piece Bjorn ….

  4. So it is with heroes. They rise, they fall. And all because of a woman. Men can be so stupid and vain at times. Achilles started out good but when he fell, he fell with a thud

  5. Pinning the legendary qualities of an ancient ‘hero’ to a all-too-prevalent modern day tragedy, is really inspired. Most of us (have an Achilles heel) and thus, entwining this mystic story with a story of human frailty is a haunting analogy.

  6. Yes, artificial enhancement seems a part of every super-hero these days–be it radiation, genetic engineering gone awry, or merely some potent medicine. Having the favor of the gods should not be artificially induced, and is the hubris that precedes the fall, as you illustrate so well here.

  7. This might be the first time that I truly think about how people affected by body and/or mind altering drugs/procedures are treated and perceived by others, depending on how society views the drug or procedure. Goodness, it seems that the difference between junkie and being a hero lies only on how people see the person’s actions… before his or her bits start falling off.

  8. My goodness this is good! You paint a deeply poignant and philosophical scene 💜

  9. It is sad when our heroes fall from grace when we learn they are pumped up on steroids.
    Even before their fall, what they gain in strength and speed ravages the body elsewhere…
    Anna :o]

  10. Too many of our heroes have gone this way. I like the way you translated being dipped in the river Styx to steroid use in our day. You did an excellent job with this. Thanks.

  11. The rise and fall of heroes, I am afraid many fall from grace. It is said, remember those on the rise as you will meet them in the fall. Something to ponder.

  12. very cool parallel. it’s difficult these days, not being a demigod; no one gifts you with superpowers and the pressure is great until the almost-rans succumb to the quest — this will surely gift you with the powers you seek the dealer (not goddess) whispers –and with that promise the hero flails on the fool’s journey. I feel sorry for him. love the poem.

  13. Oh this is good. You can’t judge a book by its cover. And it reminds me of someone. Some have been so fooled.

  14. I guess we all have an Achilles heal. It comes in different forms. So sad when we’re defeated because of it.

  15. kaykuala

    high on steroid when he fell from grace;
    cheater, scam and scab, he was ousted
    bit the dust to end up working graveyard shifts

    What a twist, Bjorn! Yes, in today’s world this is bound to happen despite the dipping in holy water!

    Hank

  16. The River Styx as an ancient form of doping – interesting, Bjorn! I enjoyed your portrait of Achilles and the clever reference to modern-day musclemen, ‘…we saw his heel, the mark of needles,
    weakness clear as pimples on his back’.

I try to reciprocate all comments. If you want me to visit a particular post, please direct me directly to that post.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.