I am Penthos (Grief)

I am Penthos (Grief)

A Poem by Rick Puetter
"

I am the way into the doleful city, I am the way into eternal grief, I am the way to a forsaken race. Dantes Inferno.

"

Angel of grief, a 1894 sculpture by William Wetmore Story which serves as the grave stone of the artist and his wife Emelyn at the Protestant Cemetery, Rome. Photograph by Alessio Damato (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Alejo2083). This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)
 

 

I am Penthos1 (Grief)
 
"I am the way into the doleful city, I am the way into eternal grief,
I am the way to a forsaken race...Abandon all hope, ye who enter
here."  -- Dante’s Inferno. 
 
 
Recollection has paled.
When did I arise?
In ages dim, I think.
But I awoke with Man.
The Greeks did first name Me.
But I was here before then.
In darker ages I arose.
In deeper mists I was formed.
I remember not,
But now I am here.
 
 
...And here I live and feed on Man!
 
 
I burst full formed onto Life.
I am Penthos.
I am the despair that men fear.
I am grief.
I am utter abandonment of hope.
 
I am worse than death,
For I give no mercy.
I am relentless.
I revel in despair and wailing.
Sweet is the sound of gnashing teeth.
Sweet are the sounds of beaten breast,
The palpitations of unending pain.
 
I am death without release.
I am suffering without recourse.
I am pain without redress.
I wallow in utter ruin to person,
Dissolution of hope and humanity,
Reduction to hovelling mass,
Ruination for ruination’s sake,
Beyond any hope of reprieve.
 
I AM GRIEF!
And I cannot be defeated.
 
I have crossed the river Acheron
And walked the circles of hell,
Sucking marrow from bones of men.
I make men hollow.
This is to my liking.
Hopelessness sweetens the meat!
Despair sings to Me.
It beckons “Satisfy your hunger!”
And I feast.
 
But bring not hope!
Bring not love.
Bring not that which lifts the Spirit.
I like them not!
Love’s hope, it burns Me.
Bring not that which harms Me,
That which pushes back my darkness.
 
Still, Man is weak.
Many have tried to contain Me,
Many to defeat Me.
But my power is old.
I cannot be vanquished.
 
I am your own.
I live in your fears.
I thrive through heartbreak,
And human condition.
You can’t dismiss Me,
For I am within you.
I am part of your soul.
You have fashioned Me
And I am fully yours.
 
I am Penthos,
Last of the gods to answer Zeus.
Through world of Man I roam,
Suckling on Man’s weakness.
 
For I am GRIEF,
And in life you cannot escape Me.
 
 
 
 
©2009, Richard Puetter
All rights reserved

 

Notes
 
[1]Penthos is the greek god of grief. He was the last god to answer the call of Zeus when Zeus was appointing responsibilities to the gods and so only grief and despair were left when Penthos arrived.

© 2016 Rick Puetter


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Featured Review

Superb! This poem shows such a complete understanding of Grief, one of the rawest emotions that can be felt. It is true, that in any life Grief cannot be avoided. I love especially that you personified this, and referenced it to the Greek myth of Penthos. It just enforces the feeling of how inescapable it is, and how deeply tangible it can be. An awe-inspiring write, thank you.

Posted 6 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

"death without release/suffering without recourse"
Yes, grief can be worse than death...and we only feel that in life...
I am still driving through it...poetry helps steer me...
both in reading it and writing it.
Thank you for this offering...A wonderful free verse journey with mythological turn signals...
maybe those myths are actually very real.
j.

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

"Recollection has paled.
When did I arise?
In ages dim, I think.
But I awoke with Man."

At the closing of your poem, Grief remembers his lateness in answering to Zeus. In that, I find an implicit reminder to the reader: Penthos was not as evil as he makes himself seem. Yes, he feasts on men's bone-marrow, but there is another story untold that perhaps even the Spirit of Grief himself is not aware of; we would have never been able to distinguish joy had there been no sorrow.

The world is not beautiful, therefore it is!

Thank you for sharing.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

An oppressing, damning, final quality about the delivery and speech of this poem. Somewhat epic and mythological in character - inevitably interlocked, I suppose, since it is something which transcends life itself (and, of course, it cites an ancient concept in more ways than one). I like the fact that it deals with more the emotional after-effects of death than death itself - I think that is important. It's interesting to consider the concept of grief as an unconquerable foe, as an elemental spirit that feels no blows, like the wind. And of course in the end one is only fighting one's own soul. It is unemotional, impartial, pervasive and formidable. All these aspects are brought out thoughtfully and effectively in this poem, and with a certain force - and I like the idea of personifying (and perhaps classically-deifying) an implacable human emotion.

"I am death without release.
I am suffering without recourse.
I am pain without redress."

..I particularly like this passage.

Posted 6 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Superb! This poem shows such a complete understanding of Grief, one of the rawest emotions that can be felt. It is true, that in any life Grief cannot be avoided. I love especially that you personified this, and referenced it to the Greek myth of Penthos. It just enforces the feeling of how inescapable it is, and how deeply tangible it can be. An awe-inspiring write, thank you.

Posted 6 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Simply amazing. I love Greek Mythology and this was amazing. Great job.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Rick,

I am not sure how much I can add to the many review here. This is just shining brilliance. Use of the first person makes this more powerful. I always get caught up in tense. And Penthos is new to me so good to learn. Greek and Roman Gods are fascinating, as is the evolution of Christianity.

Do you have an agent, Rick? I don't even know how this works...I just like to write and would love to make a living at it. Can you recommend what next steps I can take to that end? Appreciate your thoughts.

Barbara

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is Epic! One of the best poems i have ever read.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Grief is something you cannot escape in life. It feasts on your heart.
Penthos was the god of grief, but you've described grief itself, in beautiful poetic way. You've made grief sound like a cruel, merciless monster, which I've now realised it is, after reading this poem.
Well done.
This is flawless.



Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

One almost misses the muse chorus with this piece, tossing out a bit of hopeful refrain and then leaving. You've certainly taken out the deus ex machina and left the spellbound audience with raw sorrow. Such a full-on corporeal soliloquy this, one where the reader is almost compelled to answer with a sonnet on Hope in order to take the speaker down a peg or two. Nicely done.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on August 5, 2009
Last Updated on May 26, 2016

Author

Rick Puetter
Rick Puetter

San Diego, CA



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So what's the most important thing to say about myself? I guess the overarching aspect of my personality is that I am a scientist, an astrophysicist to be precise. Not that I am touting science.. more..

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