Where Astronomy and Mythology Meet, Part 2

Jupiter and Europa

Jupiter and Europa

Yesterday I posted a scifaiku that reflects upon the relationship between planet Jupiter and Galilean moon, Europa. The following poem explores that relationship much further. It’s a combination of astronomy and mythology, an interplay about which I wrote in an earlier post. For this poem, I drew from “The Rape of Europa.”

Two paintings follow the poem, by Rembrandt and Titian respectively. I think that these paintings show that no matter how far from Earth the human race travels, our myths and legends will always be with us.

EUROPA’S STOIC STANCE
by Kurt MacPhearson

Vulcan forged your golden basket,
chased with figures depicting Io’s fate,
yet you still chose to befriend that bull
merely because its low contained more melody
than a lyre ever produced.
Oh, Europa, such creatures are never docile.
It’s contrary to their nature.
Then again, we weren’t there to stop you
when that bull bent its back.
You aren’t the first to be deceived
by Jupiter’s bright and swirling charms.
The honeymoon was awesome; the starry tour quite fun;
though isn’t it strange how quickly
the euphoria of new love can fade?
He promised children. He promised Crete.
But all he gave were icy rings to seal your fate.
Hadn’t made a single revolution before learning
you shared a resonant relationship
with Ganymede, and poor Io, who Jupiter
hides like a mistress opposite you.
And now, it seems there’s no escape,
especially since Jupiter rarely turns asideStarLine 34_4
his bloody eye.
It’s not fair, what he puts you through.
But you hide it so well.
Those tears, beneath an icy veneer,
when he rages with his belts.
Which is why we forgive your cryovolcanic tantrums
when the stress of his pull becomes too much.
Such a stance defines a true hero’s composition,
for even though he won’t relinquish
his jealous grip upon your heavenly body
we know he can never break
your iron core.

Originally appeared in Star*Line 34.4

The Abduction of Europa by Rembrandt

The Abduction of Europa by Rembrandt

The Rape of Europa by Titian

The Rape of Europa by Titian

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4 thoughts on “Where Astronomy and Mythology Meet, Part 2

  1. Mythology, art and science…
    Each is connected by man’s quest for knowledge…the use of imagination to explain the mysteries of the universe. To envision the impossible and make it real!!

    Best Regards,
    Eric

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad you enjoyed it, sweet Aquileana. I love how astronomy and mythology have fit together. It may be only names, but I like to think that the celestial bodies have some of the qualities of their namesakes.

    All my best, Bryan 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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