Artist: Cheryl Nelson Used with permission

Artist: Cheryl Nelson Kellar
Used with permission

Daedalus, on these wings you wrought,
I dare take flight, rising as though spirit-borne,
but no. The power within it is
that lifts me closer to Apollo, closer to the gods
than I, mere man, should dare aspire.

Hold close your human lot, my son,
for surely, though you may transcend
the earth, your soul still lingers
in the Labyrinth of pride,
let not this lifting dupe you.

Oh, father, know you not
this gift you fashioned,
made for flight, for freedom, for escape?
Through this I shall embrace the sun,
for this you brought me forth,
you formed these wings.

It’s true—this is my offering,
so that you may ascend to liberty
through choices etched in wisdom.
Do not aspire too high; accept
your truth and linger close to me,
lowly though it may now seem to you.

The fire calls to me, enticing.

Thus, I go.

And thus, you die.

Written to a prompt offered by Grace at dVerse Poetics in which we may use the beautiful art of Cheryl Nelson Kellar. For a wonderful experience, visit her website and browse her work. And even better, choose one of her painting to inspire your own poem and bring it to dVerse.


18 thoughts on “Hubris

  1. Daedalus and Icarus – the dialogue – and the metaphor — hubris and stubbornness often lead to downfall in youth. To reach the top one must make the steady (and learning) climb. Beautifully written.


  2. Bryan Ens says:

    A wonderful retelling of the Icarus tragedy!


  3. one of my favorite myths – loved the line ‘the fire calls to me, enticing’ – wonderful retelling – K


  4. I too love the sense of conversation here–it increases the sense of tension in the known outcome here


  5. Ohh, a myth! I now feel like I need to brush up on them, it’s been a while. I did enjoy this!


  6. Susan says:

    Great use of the painting to retell the myth. The conversation you spin brings out the heartache of Daedalus who must have had a premonition of what he risked by giving his son wings. I like!


  7. I have always been fascinated by the Icarus, Daedalus myth.. so much wisdom and knowledge about the youth is embedded in this. To write this as a dialogue is most effective, the pleading father, and the pride and lust for adventure in his son..


  8. An interesting take on an old story – and like most old stories, the lesson never gets old. Pride still comes before a fall, and our children still don’t always listen…


  9. The young are averse to doing as they’re told. Your poem, and specially the title are absolutely brilliant.


  10. I wish this was something I could relate to, I didn’t have my father growing up… this is a beautiful conversation… kinda makes me remember the days where I was young(er) and thought I knew everything, but then you find that middle ground when you wise up and realize you should listen to what your parents have to say. Amazing write.


  11. billgncs says:

    I know how this ends…. and it was lovely in the retelling 🙂


  12. claudia says:

    what a cool conversation….the father’s wisdom and the son’s will to stretch those wings and discover the world… oh we need both…


  13. rmp says:

    really nicely crafted. I like the back and forth between the two.


  14. Pam Bickell says:

    Victoria, this is so powerful. What a beautiful, creative and wise voice you are!


  15. brian miller says:

    what an interesting back and forth in this…there is an interesting tension between the wiser old and the courageous young…you would wonder if there might be a middle ground where each can meet and find truth….smiles…we can even take pride in our wisdom at times….smiles.


  16. Grace says:

    I admire the mythical response, written like a conversation between father & son ~ I specially admire the contrast of fire calling, and the death of Icarus in the end ~ Pride can be our downfall ~

    Thanks for participating Victoria & wishing you Happy Week ~


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