This time, I wrote this poem as part of an ekphrastic prompt based on the painting titled HYLAS AND THE NYMPHS by John William Waterhouse. The painting, in turn, is based on an ancient myth.

My poem was not selected for final publication in that particular capacity but that doesn’t deter me at all as I now get to share it with you. So here it is.




He dived deep into the abyss
to be marooned beneath,
as if among Atlantic ruins,
in a city that lives underwater for eternities.

The beguiling voices called out to him,
coming from yonder,
caught in the mesh somewhere between the floating hyacinths
and weeds,

“Hylas, Hylas,
come, let us show you the afterlife
where bodies flit and swim,
coming up for air to the surface,
just like the myth of the mermen.
A netherworld in your reach,
only if you choose to come
and dive deep like a king of the sea”

Words to beguile the enduring ego of youth
Such a fate to divine in those last moments
between leaving shore
and entering a tempestuous watery grave.

Hylas, Hylas
’tis here is your tomb,
your desecrated youth,
the myth that history repeats in leaden circles.
Naive, guileless young lad,
here is your cautionary tale.