Cynisca (One-Horse Consolation Race)

“Sorry, we’re closing.”
…and she leaves the battlefield
on her gala-shield.

Jingling with armor,
she fumbles with a jammed lock
in the half-light hall.

In the cold bedroom
she kicks into the corner
a chlamys on which

two heraldic cats
with apathetical smiles
claw a lonely heart.

And then stands face up,
mixing her tears with water
and Bloody Caesar.


© All rights reserved 2016

36 thoughts on “Cynisca (One-Horse Consolation Race)

  1. I guess I need to digest a whole lot more about ancient Greece to really understand the true meaning here. I didn’t even have to duck as it went right over my head. I mean I understood the words, but ——

    Liked by 2 people

    • No, that’s okay, John. Basically it’s about Cynisca of Sparta and her inability to find love. She may win on the battlefield but that doesn’t necessarily translate to wins in matters of the heart. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “… two heraldic cats / with apathetical smiles / claw a lonely heart …” Very poignantly descriptive. And I especially like the link, too; very appropriate. Well done, very well done, indeed!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Very interesting history of Cynisca, too! I had no idea that she was the first woman to win an ancient Olympic competition! Quite fascinating actually! Thank you for putting me on to the amazing woman from ancient Sparta!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Jonathan ^^’
      I’m happy that my poetry can give you a spark of inspiration… I can’t wait to read your interpretation of Cynisca’s story 😛

      Liked by 2 people

    • After my first read I thought of someone ~ Cynisca ~ coming home to her lonely apartment after another gruelling day at work. She works long and hard at terribly unfulfilling work only to come home at the end of the day to a vacant home. She feels the weight of hopelessness and, thus, drinks and cries herself to sleep only to awaken the next morning to repeat the same kind of day again.

      After learning about the real Cynisca, the poem took on much deeper connotations. Cynisca spent so much of her adult life training horses and charioteers for her brother only to be forbidden to actually ride in the Olympics. Some believed he was using Cynisca, his sister, to send a message to men about chariot racing ~ that is, that chariot racing is something “even women” can do; consequently, it is not really a “man’s sport.” Now imagine how defeating, how humiliating this would feel to Cynisca! Oh, that she poured out her whole life into such a venture only to be held in derision by her own brother! No wonder, then, that she would drink and cry herself to sleep! This could be the background meaning but still have another, more contemporary interpretation and application as well!

      Well … these are my own paltry thoughts on this magnificent piece! 😀 Blessings to you and Tony! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

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