Sunday, 7 August 2011

#7Virtues Blog Challenge: Temperance

My second piece for the #7Virtues blog challenge.

TEMPERANCE: The Bacchant Who Never Was

Wild pipes shrill in the air, drums beat. I smell blood and wine, feel the restless rhythm of flailing feet thumping the moist earth. Covering my ears, I huddle against the dark cypress. Dionysus calls me, his Bacchic melody as seductive as Aphrodite’s smile, but I resist. Resist the sagging wine-skin, the ritual insanity that grips my sisters, their grape-stained mouths howling at the moon. Screams grow louder, echoing on the mountainside.

“Kill it! Kill the lion!” And I see it. Pentheus’ bloodied head, held aloft by wine-mad Agave. I close my eyes, horror-struck. Pentheus is her son.

This story is set within the world of Euripides' Bacchae and imagines what it would have been like for a woman who chose not to join in the God of Wine's Bacchanalia.

When I was sixteen I saw a brilliant student adaptation of Euripides Bacchae in Liverpool. It had a young Dionysus (with a striking resemblance to Jason Lee) who leapt with wild balletic energy from scaffolding all around the stage. I never forgot its energy or its tragic impact.

If you want to read the story of Pentheus, you can find it on Theoi, the Greek Mythology website. It has translations from the play.

A Chorus of Heavenly Virtues

Now you've read mine, take the tour. Go on, improve yourself. Nibble on some bite-size goodness, it's good for the soul. You can find a delicious menu by clicking through to these virtuous creatures:

David A Ludwig, Bryce Daniels AKA Poet, Lissa Bilyk, Rebecca T. Little, Rosie Lane, Jamila Jamison, Rebecca Clare Smith, Amy Romine, The Gorm, brainhazewp, Surfing Madness, Glitterlady, JC Kitty, Zade Forrest, Emilia Quill, Kathy, Jeffrey Hollar


Emilia Quill said...

"their grape-stained mouths howling at the moon"
Powerful images, wow!

David A Ludwig said...

"The Bacchant who never was", very clever and about the last place I would've looked for Temperance. And thanks for the additional details and commentary following your 100 words with these.

Unknown said...

Wow, the ending to this was delightfully shocking. While I can't say I *loved* it because it's so brutal, I think it's brilliant!

Also, I read the article about Georgette Heyer - brilliant!

Unknown said...

Very powerful and evocative tale told with very few words. Kudos for the mythological twist. I think I have wine stains on my desk!

Unknown said...

I like this very much. Descriptive and alluring. It draws the reader in quickly and provokes emotion. Very well done!

Meg McNulty said...

Thanks for the comments!

@Jeffrey - maybe you're Dionysus in disguise?

@Kathy - I keep finding blog reviews of Georgette Heyer at the moment, I think her fanbase is growing!

Anonymous said...

Very powerful words, I absolutely love the history in your virtues so far. Love love love greek myths! I used to write poetry about them because I loved the transformations that took place and the twists that happen when you ask for a God's help... careful what you wish for, indeed. Great job!

Lissa said...

I'm not familiar with this story but I love your approach.

Jayaly said...

Beautiful words and a shocking ending. I really like the Greek myth theme you have running through these.