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prompt 208 Mythology

April 10, 2014
Raven was in a deep sleep,
dreaming the world. He saw things
and they happened, He dreamed things
and they came to life.

- Red Hawk, "Raven's Last Dream"

In last week’s prompt we explored “history”. This week, we turn our gaze to “mythology”.

Poetry began as an oral tradition to transmit the history, stories, and culture of a people from one generation to the next. Included in this was the culture’s mythology. Of course, mythology can overlap both history and religion in earlier cultures — in many cases, what we now label mythology were considered true accounts of the actions of the gods and other superhuman characters in those cultures, and legends were considered true stories about the actions of humans. Mythology and legends were often transmitted through epic poetry — consider one of the most famous examples of this, The Odyssey by Homer.

Homer

The term “myth” has become somewhat pejorative, denoting something that is fictional and not true.  I’ll bear out this idea a little further with a question: if Zeus’ defeat of his father Kronos is considered a myth, what about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by Yaweh? In different times and places, both have been considered literal retellings of real events.

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, by John Martin

I present the previous question to broaden the idea of “mythology” a bit. For this week’s prompt, I’m going to ask you to take the word “mythology” and run with it — in any direction you choose. You can go epic with this. Or, if you’d like a modern example of mythology in poetry, you can check out “Raven’s Last Dream” from which I quoted at the beginning of this prompt. Do you look to mythology from your own culture? Might you look to the stories of heroes/heroines or warriors — what about Cú Chulainn, Hua Mulan (and not the Disney version!), or Samson? Do creation stories fascinate you — whether it be Yaweh speaking the world into existence, or the Maori story of Rangi and Papa?

Legendary Chinese Warrior Hua Mulan

Consider other possibilities. Would you do some mythologizing of your own — might you take a modern event and explain it as a result of a supernatural event? What might happen if an ancient mythological or legendary figure appears in modern times — would Saraswati perform on India’s Got Talent, or how would King David fare at a poetry slam? Or do you think in terms of metapoetry about mythology itself?

Saraswati, Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, art, and science

As Jim Morrison put it, “Let’s reinvent the gods, all the myths of the ages/Celebrate symbols from deep elder forests”. I’m looking forward to what you create. 🙂

-Nicole

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2014 3:17 am

    Mine’s here. I’m sure you didn’t want my long series of Poseidon poems, so here’s a little one: http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/myth-2/

  2. April 10, 2014 4:18 am

    Can’t help where my muse took me today, but here’s my myth-ish poem. http://miskmask.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/the-myth-of-progress/

  3. April 10, 2014 5:58 am

    Keeping it sort of simple; though combining prompts again:

    http://juleslongerstrandsofgems.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/multi-prompts-day-10-family-mythology/

  4. April 10, 2014 8:51 am

    This week’s poem is a coin toss:

    http://ravenswingpoetry.com/2014/04/10/coin-toss/

    -Nicole

  5. April 10, 2014 10:18 am

    My poem is for one of my favorite goddesses.

    http://lornacahall.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-festival-of-bastet.html

  6. April 10, 2014 7:07 pm

    Thank you for this thought-provoking and informational post!

    http://wordrustling.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/deep-in-the-woods-of-gnome-and-knowing/

  7. April 10, 2014 10:56 pm

    My poem is about Spring Cherry (Haru Sakura) a Japanese Anime character I made up. Then of course in finding an image, I found the Japanese girl who calls herself Haru Sakura on google+

    http://northernwall.blogspot.com/2014/04/spring-cherry-girl-who-broke-free.html

    • April 15, 2014 12:45 pm

      I am endlessly fascinated by living trees, talking trees, and so forth. I like this poem.

      • April 15, 2014 1:35 pm

        Thank you. I love trees. They just speak to my imagination. I love the way they sway – so relaxing.

  8. April 12, 2014 2:36 pm

    This was a hard prompt, also a good one. 🙂
    http://stimmyabby.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/the-underworld-never-happened/

    • April 15, 2014 12:48 pm

      I’m glad you found this challenging. I love throwing people curve balls, and when creation comes out of it, it’s a good thing.

  9. April 12, 2014 5:42 pm

    Finally came up with something here

  10. April 14, 2014 9:33 pm

    A bit late to the party, but here’s “The Root of All Suffering”: http://coyotemercury.com/2014/04/14/the-root-of-all-suffering/

    • April 16, 2014 1:11 pm

      Better late than never. I like how you, no pun intended, respin such a familiar thing as desire.

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