Humour Poetry

Sticky Myths

Rhys Hughes takes us through Greek mythology with his own brand of humour blending the past and the present

 When Bellerophon
      saw a unicorn
 upon his lawn
 he was somewhat
 “I have no wish
 to make a fuss,”
 is what he said, “but this
 is the day appointed
     for me to receive
       a visit from
 Pegasus instead.”
 Hydras are bad
 in Hyderabad
      or so
 Hercules has heard.
    Needless to say
 he therefore
       to go there
 on Pegasus Airlines
       but not before
 he goes to Goa
 because he badly
     needs a holiday.
 What a legendary chap!
 In order to earn
 money as well as learn
 something, while
 writing her thesis on Theseus,
 Ariadne works  
     as a guide
     to sightseers
     and gives them
 a Minotaur of the famous
 Sovereign of dolphins,
 king of the waves,
 the god of the sea
       makes bubbles
 without any trouble
 when he plays the flute
       as he bathes.
 And jazz in the oceanic
 jacuzzi is cosy
      and groovy
      but the melody
 is unfamiliar to you.
 Yet I can name
     Neptune in one.
 There’s a Zeus
 loose about this house,
 his thunderbolts
 will cook your goose,
 assuming that
     you are unlucky
 enough to have one.
 But even if you don’t,
 when you hear
    him stir,
    it’s better to duck!
 Simple arithmetic
 ought to be taught
     in the schools
 that heroes go to,
 so they will know,
 without any doubt,
 that one minus one
      equals nought.
 The stealing of
 the Golden Fleece
    celebrated with
     a premature feast
 in the near vicinity
 of the daring theft
 adds up only to trouble.
      Sail away first
 before slaking your thirst,
 sail far from the
      hostile nation.
 But enraptured by wine
 and more potent brews
 Jason plus crew
      (that fiery few)
 are captured and thrown
      into jail. 
 While serving time,
 forget the blue sea,
 remember instead
 all that you learned
 about subtraction
 and count down the years,
       one minus one
 equals nought, a free
 and that is the sum
      of this tale.
 Atlas, holding up the sky,
 looks and sees
 aeroplanes flying by
 around his head
 and through his legs,
 the passengers
 respectful to his
 massive thighs
 but oblivious
 of his giant sighs.
 Pan in the kitchen
 clattering pots
 and chopping boards.
 What’s the god
 of nature doing
 indoors? He’s frying
 so hard to be
 a domesticated chap,
 that’s what!
 A non-stick goatish
 do gooder with
 a skillet skill set.
 Prometheus on
     the promenade
 walking in
     the shade of trees
 no longer gives
     away anything
 to humanity
    for free, not even
 lemonade: those
     days are over.
 Now he hopes
     to make money
 and only offers
    his fire for hire.
 Socrates was such a tease
 in the market square.
    He doubted this
 and questioned that
     until some people
 had had enough.
 They felt he mocked
     their authority
     and in a cup
 of hemlock they turned
 a key, the skeleton
      key of his mortality.
 While the rock
 goes up his socks
 fall down. Poor
 When the rock
 rolls down his socks
 are quite forgot.
 Mighty but mild
 As the moon goes up
 his efforts are
 with moonlight
 flooded thus. Don’t
 make a fuss, old
 A cyclops is like
 a bicycle headlamp
 coming the other
 way. We meet them
 on country roads
 at night when we
 are cycling far away.
 “How do you do?”
 we always ask
 as we zoom past
 very fast, but they
 never deign to reply.
 They just hiss
 and wink darkness
 back to life and
 softened by gloom
 or the glow of
 the moon they
 become rather more
 beautiful. Now
 there’s a cyclops for
     sore eyes!
 Icarus upstairs
 on the omnibus.
      His wings
      were things
 that fell apart.
 Some people fly
 for business,
 others for sport:
 But since his
 accident Icarus finds
 that he prefers
      public transport.


Rhys Hughes has lived in many countries. He graduated as an engineer but currently works as a tutor of mathematics. Since his first book was published in 1995 he has had fifty other books published and his work has been translated into ten languages.



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