You humiliated the Netherworld Poet, and now you
must pay – the only way to avoid his curse is to
sacrifice the first-born son in your wife’s womb.
The Netherworld Poet cackles like a hyena on these
arid plains of this sun-soaked frontier – you dared
to question his knowledge of the tribe and kingdom
that is your birthright to one day lead.
You turn to the Sun god to exact your revenge –
but the bare-chested deity sits in silence
on his throne, telling you that you’ve made a fatal
mistake that even He cannot reverse.
You remember all this now, as you crawl in the vast
desert with chapped lips that bleed into an aching mouth –
the kingdom is gone, the family buried
in pauper’s fields, and you are an exile – your malnourished
body wastes away in the golden sand of Netherworld,
another victim of the Poet’s curse.
Note: I was inspired to write this poem based on a story I read in a book of Celtic mythology. In Ireland and Scotland, poets held a high official rank in society and memorized royal family genealogies and other important histories and tales. Some of them were also known to place dreaded curses on those who crossed them.
Here’s an idea for a writing prompt: Write a short story or poem based on a poet’s curse. It could be in ancient times, like from a Celtic bard, or a modern-day poet using supposed pagan powers. Enjoy!