Part II - Knossos
The aftermath, of Troy's long war,
drew bloody bath, drowned endless score.
The Grecian path, though bowed before,
over love's wrath, somehow endured.
Since beaten back, from Trojan beach,
the Greeks retract - those spared from seige.
Some plan attacks, while others preach,
some hide in shacks begging for peace.
A few survived, and fled to Crete,
arrived deprived, starved from defeat.
The years revived, restored complete -
new plans devised, and kept descreet.
Resolved to fight, for pride denied,
revenge in sight, for brothers died,
with all their might and strength applied,
both day and night, they train in hide.
One day they found, well engineered,
beneath a mound, a maze twelve-tiered.
Under the ground, it's comandeered,
by hell unbound, who knows no fear.
So deep within this cave afar -
of human skin, a bull bizarre.
A pure weapon, who's bred to spar,
and known herein, as Minotaur.
Produced by Gods, though not devine,
conceived at odds, through dark design.
There never was, such ruthless kind,
he'll lead their squads, they soon shall find.
With chest of man, and strength of bulls,
no hooves, but hands - defying rules,
eight feet he stands, with horns as tools,
he'll traverse lands, and trample fools.
The Greeks, they spend years planting food,
just to befriend, and then collude.
They will impend him to persue
Helen to end, returned subdued.
This bullish steed, in bronze'd bard,
will supersede, with disregard.
Through increased speed, their Minotaur,
takes over lead, and pushes hard.
Now close to Troy, the plan is set -
not to destroy, but rather get.
A silent ploy, their silhouettes -
shadowed decoys of statuettes.
At random glance, Helen is seen -
alone by chance, near a ravine.
Such circumstance leaves the Greeks keen
to then advance and claim their queen.
Helen is stunned, and left aghast,
she can't outrun Minotaur's grasp.
Their work is done, they withdraw fast,
lest rising sun, reveal their mass.
'gainst her protest, they sail for Crete,
the bull grotesque and Grecian fleet.
Anger expressed, at their conceit,
Helen confessed to hating Greece:
'And just who are you, to remove such love,
and violate truth, as jury and judge?
Are you my maker, creator of life,
giver and taker, of peace, or worse, strife?
Or are you from Hell, where love has no name,
where deadly sins dwell as fame based on shame?
I've taken my choice, much like you do yours,
why can't I rejoice, why must there be wars?
For I proudly wear, the colors of Troy,
I just do not share the life you enjoy.
So please let me go, return to my home,
I wish to forgo your king and his throne.'
They all appall such hate that sears;
her pleas, they fall, upon deaf ears.
The Greeks recall her royal years,
and with resolve, ignore her tears.
Word of Helen rapidly passed,
Paris therein, reacted fast.
His fleet was then quickly amassed,
to his chagrin, Greek's lead is vast.
He sails for Crete, with fired eyes,
now half complete from this surprise.
The Greeks elite, he should surmise,
can't wait to greet his raged reply.
Now having ground the Greek island,
Paris resounds his firm demand.
The foes around flee and disband
to their compound, well undermanned.
The sounds of screams are heard nearby -
Helen, it seems, was forced to cry.
The Troy regime, with drive applied,
follows the teams of Greeks awry.
The prince will chase, all through the night,
With faster pace, he gains despite,
it's not a race, but war outright.
It's at this place, we join the fight:
Across a field, the door's ajar,
Trojan sight yields, the Minotaur.
Inspecting shield for fractured scar,
Paris then wields, bow from afar.
Through refined skill, his arrow flies,
pushed by his will, it's flight defies,
then gets it's fill of rippled thigh -
fresh blood is spilt, Minotaur cries.
As if designed, for Troy's prevail,
his wounded hind drips from his tail.
Paris will find, though far from frail,
he leaves behind a crimson trail.
He will encroach, full of despair,
with plans to poach - 'til death, he swears.
Now getting close, expecting snare,
they soon approach the secret lair.
The entrance, lone, will disconcert -
Walls lined with stone, floors of stained dirt.
Their way that's known, in two, diverts,
the choice is shown from bloody spurt.
Inside this maze, lie many path,
in torch lit haze, and smokey bath.
A million ways challengers hath
to die and bathe the builders wrath.
Believing he hears Helen near,
Paris, on spree, runs without fear,
losing his team, with sword and spear,
he bounds downstream and disappears.
Both right and left, he follows trail,
his strides are deft, he will assail,
though left bereft, to his avail,
through death or theft, he will prevail.
Both up and down, the trail leads on,
though Helen's sounds have come and gone.
His feet still pound, his charge still brawn,
he heads inbound, his blade withdrawn.
Both high and low, the arches bend,
ahead will show, the same old trend.
Starting to slow, the next ascend,
reveals, although, it's a dead end.
Now in a bind, to his dismay,
he turns to find how his path strayed.
To his malign, without delay,
his guiding line's been brushed away.
This one set back will take awhile -
into the black, extend the aisles.
No way to map what he compliles,
panic attacks, forcing denials.
Lost and alone, he prays within,
confidence shown, resolve sets in.
Past piles of bones, he swears he's been,
but smooth sand shows he's wearing thin.
Without discern he wanders wide -
takes random turns in confused stride.
Though his legs burn, his patience tried,
he's more concerned if Helen's died.
'I know I'm to blame, but she pays the price -
for my queen they came, not once but now twice.
So, I've been the fool, to rush ahead blind,
and love can be creul, sometimes you will find.
The places your heart will lead you are far,
and tear you apart, and leave you with scars.
I'm lost ever since I found Helen's ways,
in this labyrinth, reflecting love's maze.
This journey that's filled with twists has abhorred,
and sees my words spilled, dismissed and ignored.
So I'll travel on, 'til Death comes for me,
until she is gone, or somehow set free.'
And with that said, in his last gasp,
Paris fell spread, in spent collapse.
The dirt his bed, his sword in grasp,
he rests his head in his shields' clasp.
Now quite quiet, with his eyes shut,
he feels regret, and nothing but.
The pause will let sounds in somewhat -
like the faint threat of beastly strut.
Ear to the ground, with prickled skin,
locked on the sound, his chance begins.
The stomps soon pound without rescind -
Paris has found a way within.
He tracks the noise with soft-stepped tread,
silence employs his path, unsaid.
His face is poised, but stomach dreads,
though hate destroys all fear ahead.
Finally fared unto the lair,
he's well prepared for this affair.
His presence dared, his weapon flared,
his taunts declare all should beware.
Paris then finds Helen tied tight,
marred by binds and bestial bite.
As his teeth grind a snarled incite,
his foe reminds he's in his sight.
To Helen's fear, they square to each,
with curling sneer, and spiteful speech.
Their eyes adhere - as time will teach,
the end is near, and within reach.
It's axe and horn 'gainst shield and sword,
While man is worn, the bull is gored.
Both soaked, adorned, as their sweat pours -
towards faces scorn, they move forward.
With pointed tips, and charging rage,
Minotaur whips 'cross his rib cage.
with a quick dip, Paris is saved,
a single slip, he'd be engraved.
Poor Helen's tears, they flow in streams,
living the fears, from her worst dreams.
As the prize here, or so it seems,
she'll live long years, or die in screams.
Then Paris springs, up to his feet,
his sword, it sings, songs of defeat.
As his bronze swings too far offbeat,
he grabs and clings the beast from Crete.
Within the fold, of Trojan grip,
Minotaur rolled, his armour ripped.
His limbs uphold 'gainst overtip,
everything told, he's barely nipped.
His blows, they lash out violently,
in rabid thrash, too fast to see.
Paris is gashed 'cross chest and knee,
his blood is splashed, but sparingly.
Now it's the spear, against the axe,
his focus clear, Paris attacks.
The thrust is sheer, but lacks impact -
he only veers Minotaur's tracks.
Their battle cries now having ceased,
a wreckless reply comes from the beast.
His axe swung high, to say the least,
and then it flies from swift release.
With graceful swim throughout the air,
the axe will skim the Trojan's hair.
Though it gives him an awful scare,
his life and limbs are all still there.
The fight persists, as they oppose,
Helen resists watching the show.
With battered fists, the two trade blows -
the prince, he twists, from broken nose.
In desprate haste, he wraps around
Minotaur's waist, and drags him down.
With his sword braced, against the ground,
none goes to waste, the beast has found.
Impaled by blade, and run straight through,
his death repays those he persued.
A long crusade, Minotaurs view
begins to fade, well overdue.
Paris then sought, to have his head.
With second thought, his sword is shed,
he'll use the wrought axe head instead,
which cleanly caught - Minotaur's dead.
Her ropes now cleaved, they join as one,
though both relieved, the work's not done.
Until they're freed, under the sun,
this tale, indeed, has just begun.
Their strength rebounds, charged with the task,
flee this compound - a lot to ask.
They've gone around, but nowhere fast,
having soon found much time has passed.
Their fate inststs, their paths have crossed
with countless twists, and countless lost.
When they first kissed, the rules were tossed,
they got their wish, but at what cost?
The future sees many years pass,
sightless of these lovers, alas.
Just to appease, the maze is cast
in rocky seize, buried en masse.
The war will rage through thick and thin,
turning the page on what has been -
how Paris engaged the beast within,
his death upstaged with his Helen.
Their legend will rise up above,
as stories fill the streets and pubs.
The locals still speak of their love -
the kind most will only dream of.
'The Minotaur', bronze by Deran Wright
'Theseus Slaying Minotaur',
bronze by Antoine-Louis Barye
‘Paris with Helen of Troy’, marble by Vincenzo de’Rossi
‘The Minotaur Awaits’, pencil by Tom Oddo