Our Corinthian king reigns on high this day,
with all the winds blowing just his way,
with little to accomplish or do,
but devise fresh cruelties anew,
building castles out of sand, twigs, and hay.
Did Dionysius’ sword held by horsehair fail,
to teach you exactly how precarious and frail,
the walls are behind which you hide;
at once gone with the tide,
should the winds whip up in unfavourable gale?
In a far away land is a hill and a stone,
an ascent for a king without crown or a throne.
A history written in blood and hate,
awaits the faded king in the annals of fate,
filled with crimes for which he could never atone.
The Corinthian king refers to Sisyphus cursed to roll a stone up a hill for eternity only to have the stone roll back down again. Dionysius refers to the story of the Sword of Damocles, where the king Dionysius illustrated to Damocles how precarious the position of king is after he hanged a sword above his throne and offered to have Damocles sit on his throne, only to tell Damocles to look above him, where he saw the sword hanging by the hair of a horse’s tail above him.
Charl Landsberg is a South African poet, writer, queer rights activist, and musician. Their work focusses on feminism, justice, and often a few things including fantasy and science fiction.