Arrow of Artemis


Vernal sun – the fiery Aries’
Golden fleece – lights Pallas, mighty,
Guardian over Argive heroes;
Asteroid of winged Niké.

This the key to hidden gateways –
Look beyond to see the secret –
Clio fixed for all the greats’ days.
Thalia the Muse, the Grace says:

‘Artemis, with bow and quiver,
Stands aloft on Mount Olympus,
As the doe and hind, in silence,
Jump the clear and Star-lit river.

‘Swift they run, like magic carpets,
Through the green and silver forests,
Past the bears and bees with honey
As the Goddess hits her target.

‘“Bravo, Sister!” beams Apollo –
Gazing at the sea below them –
“Never did you miss with arrow!”
Sinks the form of bold Orion”.

‘Lord Apollo watches, silent,
As the virgin’s beau drifts skyward.
Watches as the only question
O’er her virtue learns his lesson.

‘By a cedar stands she grieving,
Bows her head in shame, a-weeping,
Cries upon the smelted moon beams,
Chastens, then, her ruthless sibling.

‘“King of priests, my Lord Apollo,
‘Reasons for his death ring hollow.
While the muses – nine that love thee –
Contemplate their selves, you’d fool me!”

Laughs the god: “Your love’s a martyr,”
Facing fear the charging Taurus,
“Tempted by the Atlas daughters,
Girls who shine on lucid waters.”

Zeus’ First and Twice-Born Sons

Storm's River
Storm's River

In his hands he held his lovely golden wand with which he can lull men’s eyelids or wake them from sleep: and with this wand he called the ghosts and led them, and they followed him*.

Zeus turned his attention to his golden son. “Step forward Apollo,” he said, “For I would have you build me here a house, where men from all corners of the world will come to hear of their destiny.

Standing on the outskirt of the forest, the Magician relayed a key message to his wine-loving friend:

“Zeus’s twice-born son, your time shall surely come.

As grows the living vine, the victory shall be thine”.

The wolf by Apollo’s side pricked up its ears and whined as he watched the two whispering on the edge of the emerald forest. Apollo looked down at his faithful beast and both cocked their heads to one side.
“And what of me, Father? Art I not the bringer of light, voice of all reason and destroyer of dark night? How shall my sun by worshipped if the temple is all thine and he is the death-defying vine?

Zeus looked long and hard at his progeny, whose heart was cold as his mind was brilliant light. “How soon, I wonder, my great golden child, ’til you think yourself greater, even, than I?”

It was then that Zeus’ deer silver daughter put a restraining hand on her golden brother’s shoulder and entreated him in an urgent voice.
“Bait him not, beloved brother; the chariot of the sun shall be struck down by lightening and the silver moon shall die of grief – then you would see that our licentious youth shall sober in a second and sit upon thy gilded throne!”

“Ay, sister of the moon, with his hairy hand upon my priceless goblet, while his sluts strum tuneless ditties upon my incomparable turtleshell lyre!”

Apollo’s eyes flashed hot and cold.
Dionysus raised his cup to them in a toast: “You have my blessing brother, I think not to steer the chariot of the sun, nor to take your hallowed place in heaven…”I’d rather have a bit of fun.
“You’ll have to watch the lyre, though, methinks the sound of music shall do much to make our mystery!”

Apollo turned back to their father with an ironic smile.

“The muses who love me shall make here their bed. The will of the King of the Gods shall be carved out in lead”.

Zeus clasped the prince of the Sun with both arms. “Ah, that’s my boy! And fear thee not, Prince of Paeans, for although it is my will that shall be done, it is you who shall dictate my whims and wishes to the wondering world.”

*Homer, The Odyssey

Birth of Phoebus Apollo

birth of apollo
The Beach

The owl of Zeus’s daughter Athena sat blinking inscrutably in the branches of a large white tree.

Artemis, his deer, second-born child beneath, blinked her virginal eyes and then ran like the wind towards the edges of the emerald forest.

She sped through the trees until she reached the pebble-dashed shore of the finite sea, where Poseidon threw waters from the churning, ink-black ocean out to land.

A vast breaking wave upheld the glistening form of her darling, new-born brother, Phoebus Apollo.


The top of his fin cut the air like a knife,
 carving a circle of purest, white light.
 Seven sacred colours framed his perfect, golden mind,
 as Artemis declared to him:
 “We two are one, combined!”


Her love for him supplanted all other desire and she cried out loud: “Give me now my silver arrows, for I should strike down dead any one who would dare come between us!”

His answering voice was like an echo of her dream before she dreamt it. “Swim, enchanting sister, while my light is still cool, deep, into the salt-filled waters. A weapon such as this,” he held above him a golden bow, “may only be brought from the abyss”.

She cast off her linen robe and dipped one foot into the ocean, shielding her eyes from the blue-lit morning star as it rose up on the Eastern horizon.

Every other face turned toward it as she made her way to the bottomless abyss, heedless of the dragon chained within.