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ὕβρις (hubris)

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ὕβρις (hubris)

 

You can not forget

the venomous words whispered by

his mother, a goddess

(a goddess, you have just kissed the son of

a goddess, you know she could have you dead

with a wave of her hand)

Thetis hovering you, accusing

her eyes aren't flaming, and that's what scares you

because you're accustomed to see the same eyes

vivid, nestled in a friendlier (beloved) face

so you don't come up with any answer when she states,

"You will never be good enough

for him, he's meant to be a god

you know that

what makes you think

you can sin of hubris

without facing the consequences?"

(The morning after, you know

you're not guilty of anything

at all

you are not afraid anymore

and you don't know how you could have mistaken her eyes

for his, transfixed by your face,

burning in excitement and disbelief

and hope)

 

You hear Thetis' accusation once again

in the most painful of circumstances

you knew that Pelion was a teenagers' feeble dream,

ephemeral just as his life seems,

now that you have him in your arms

but you couldn't imagine it would have ended up this way.

You want to face Thetis and say,

"Look at him

he's no god

he's no hero

he's just

a boy

why do you want to see him dead

on a battlefield?"

It all seems to be thrown at the two of you

so harshly

Deidamia, and her child

(their, their child, he's a father, it's theirs)

and a war that hangs upon your heads

so close you can taste blood and sweat in your mouth

you can't be fooled anymore

neither can he

he's not a god

(How could he be?

Yes, he's Achilles the great

Aristos Achaion

he's made for war, a weapon

but you hold him

against your chest

and he's no more than

a boy)

 

Then it starts

the war, the long nights hearing sounds coming from the smithy

when you clutch him at night

you can taste his smell, so familiar - sandalwood, oil, sweat

and so foreign, above it all, the smell of battle

you wonder how he can be so beautiful

even covered in blood, how can he

make death seem graceful

you think, it's warriors like him who make fighting worth it

there aren't many men who succeed in making war seem

like the sweetest sword dance

and you wonder why it's you -

a common man, a mortal -

who has the privilege of knowing his body better than anyone else

you drink from him like from the sweetest ambrosia

and you know, things which are meant for gods

(he is a god, and you can't forget that)

make men die for the worst crime of all, hubris

(But at times, he's so human

he's human when he wants to be held

he's human when he's panting under you

he's human when he's desperate to be praised or comforted

he's human when he kisses you

so human he almost makes you forget)

 

You have known happiness even though you were tricking

the Erinys into giving him more time

ten years, you stole from them.

This time, your hubris has been punished

he's still alive -

he has grown and loved and fought

but you can't reach happiness ever again

not while your men die all around you

you don't think twice about supplicating him

you know, he has never been able to say no to you

and you might save them all.

You don't think at all while you slip in an armour

you know better than your own

you have divested him of it so many times

it is ridiculous how well you know it.

When you realize you are going die all you think is

I should have said him I loved him

one last time

(You have known all along

you could not trick your way out

of fate's cold hands forever

no matter how much you hoped

but you think, for a second, it could have been worse

you think about Heracles, Bellerophon, but -

now Hector has no much more time to live

now Achilles will be killed

was your hubris worth his death?)

 

You know all the stories by heart

just like anyone else

and you've always wondered

whether they were true

or not.

Now you find out what they told

about the afterlife

is true:

you are no more than a wandering shadow

blocked somewhere you can't quite place.

The hardest thing to bear is

you can see everyone, everything:

you see Achilles grieving

over your rotting body

you see him welcoming death with open arms

and death avoiding him over and over again

until she can't anymore.

You see his funerals, majestic as they should be

and you see his child -

Neoptolemus, you've heard them calling him

a whisper goes through your spine

when you see features you have caressed and kissed and loved

corrupted by evilness.

You see him going to the Hades

and you are left without him once again.

When you have lost all hope,

then you see her, Thetis, and you almost

fear she's going to mock you,

“I told you so, gods are not meant

for mortals.”

But she doesn't use the word

hubris

ever again.

You do not fear her anymore.

You have nothing to lose,

so you remember and

you talk and

you love him

even if you're never going to see again.

When you are finished, Thetis says: “Go”

and you don't see her anymore.

(You see Achilles and your heart bursts

and he is painfully similar

to the boy he was when you first fell in love

and he states, innocence filling his voice

once again,

our love was even stronger than

hubris.)