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  • By Louis Groarke

Greek Tragedy

Ruin justice…

And your bloodline will weaken,

Your descendants fade out.

—Hesiod, Works and Days

The rose soon fades on Antigone’s cheek,

Rocked like a child that has fallen asleep;

Hung from the rafters in a makeshift grave,

She swings back and forth in an Attic cave.

No mortal king can undo the grim deed.

—The price of blood guilt uproots the bad seed.

Haemon, her lover, impedes the king’s way;

Strikes with the sword, but the king runs away.

Turns round the blade to receive the dread blow,

Following Antigone, far below.

Etecoles slain in the family feud;

Polyneices left for carrion food.

Eurydice, next, disheveled, dismayed,

Swoons on the point of an upturned blade.

Confronts her vexed end on iron so sharp,

It dulls the keen pain that pierces her heart.

King Creon, alone, afraid he will die,

Spies Lycus, his rival, creeping close by.

Fortuna, unmoved, keeps spinning her wheel,

As warm human flesh submits to cold steel.

The Furies, now dancing, round on the hill,

Recount the ill story, laughing so shrill.

Hark, Nemesis plays the chess-game of fate

Move after move that soon ends in checkmate.

Louis Groarke is a Professor of Philosophy at St. Francis Xavier University. Academically, he has published widely on ethics, aesthetics, logic, and ancient philosophy. He has a recent book on literary theory and has published a number of short stories and poems in venues such as the Antigonish Review, Canadian Tales of the Fantastic, Canadian Tales of the Mysterious, and the Quadrant.

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