Poem about Ariadne

What Was In Your Heart

What was in your heart, Ariadne of Knossos
When you led Theseus to the sacrificial bull that day
Did you wish to go deep in yourself
To kill the monster within
To kill the shame, the rage, the ravenous shadows
The curse that afflicted your innocent name
When you gave the string to Theseus
Was it your dignity you wished to recover — with a lifeline
To wear the name of Theseus the hero
Instead of Mistress of the Labyrinth
Sacred Priestess of a monster
Who eats children and haunts his family
You sacrificed your brother to save the children of Athens
No easy solution I’m sure. (Some of our best monsters are family)
Your noble deed should have been rewarded, your name praised
But you can never really kill monsters
They come back in other forms. They wear the mask of a hero
Who tells us we can murder our bad parts
And we don’t see that they — we — are the monsters
What was in your heart, Ariadne
When you stood on the cliff at Naxos
Did you wish to erase your past, erase your shame
Kill the monster at last by killing yourself
And when Dionysus suddenly appeared
Covered in skins and stinking of wine, what was in your heart then
Did you recognize him right away as another bull
Another ‘monster’ who lives outside of society’s rules
Who tears apart animals, tears apart minds
Did you understand then the creative power of the Labyrinth
Did you see the monster as its artful executor
Did you realize that the masks you wore —
The unpopular Priestess, the love struck, hero-worshipping girl
The opportunistic savior to the people
The redeemed comeback kid
The unwanted, discarded slut with blood on her hands —
Were just as brittle as the mask of the Athenian “hero”
Who used you, f∩©&Σd you and left you to die
What was in your heart then
When you had nothing left. No brother, no hero, no dignity
When you had only yourself
And the tunnels that are eternally pregnant
At that moment, Ariadne
I believe what you saw in your heart
Was Freedom