Scylla and Charybdis

we remain rootedly positioned
between scylla and charybdis*
the chasm that separates us
mythically disproportionate
to your truth, or mine.
clash- two worlds colliding
yours a rock and mine a hard face
your forlorn forced inflections
emanating from the belly of your god.
my belligerent brawling outbursts
clutching tight the hand-
of absolution sure demise.
just once, can’t we beg off?
let hoar fog obscure our fracas
cleanse us both in salt sea brine
cast off weighted chain and anchor
just once, let dead dogs lie??
foundation built of rock, on hard place
just this once- oh mother mine?

Word Count: 99

*The idiom ‘between Scylla and Charybdis’ has come to mean being between two dangers, choosing either of which brings harm.

Written for Carrot Ranch’s 99 word Flash Fiction Prompt Sea Mist and MLMM Saturday Mix Mad About Metaphors

45 thoughts on “Scylla and Charybdis

  1. “between scylla and charybdis*
    “yours a rock and mine a hard face”
    Oh yes, that between ‘a rock and a hard place’ with our parents… I’ve been there.
    I like your poetic quality to the common phrase. I do believe salt air can be cleansing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the way you used mythological metaphors and allusions (along with the idiom) for this human condition. The imagery is both detailed and elusive at once — I hope that we can all abide by this line: “let hoar fog obscure our fracas/cleanse us both in salt sea brine”. The sea brine as a cleansing instrument is very impactful.

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      • You certainly inspire me as well, Violet!
        It’s so good to read this one again — the force of your words and the intermittent tension along with the alliteration are something to be enjoyed by reading it out loud. I am glad that you linked in with the prompt. 🙂

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      • When I saw your prompt, this poem came instantly to mind. I want to do a piece on Medusa, but it will have to wait till I get settled in my new home. As always, thank you so much Anmol for stopping in to comment.

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  3. I guess I am the first commenter for the dVerse prompt. This “prior pom” works well; lots of myths about mothers and matriarchs. Communicating with parents are like the trials of Hercules.

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  4. I’m currently reading Circe by Madeline Miler and your poem resonated with the literary world I currently inhabit, Violet! I love the way you convey the difficulties of a mother-daughter relationship with the mythological. I especially admire the lines:
    ‘…two worlds colliding
    yours a rock and mine a hard face
    your forlorn forced inflections
    emanating from the belly of your god’
    (great play on ‘rock and a hard place’!)
    and
    ‘let hoar fog obscure our fracas
    cleanse us both in salt sea brine
    cast off weighted chain and anchor’.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed this one very much. Mothers and daughters! The imagery is sustained and turbulent.
    I’m not sure you need to asterisk Scylla and Charybdis though. Anyone who doesn’t know what they are (as literate people we ought to can just look them up, I’d have thought 🙂

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    • Thank you for stopping in to comment, Jane. I was unsure when I posted it originally if the reference was too obscure. Of course on the deVerse crew it was simpler as it reflected the subject matter. Thank you for your kind words.

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      • I enjoyed it! It’s just my opinion about the asterisk, but I wouldn’t ‘excuse’ a reference as much in the common culture as that one. The Greek myths are the best known of all, and most literate people have a passing knowledge of them. I’d expect anyone joining in a prompt about mythology to get the reference. Other poets don’t explain when they make particularly obscure and personal references 🙂

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  6. this really speaks to me:
    “the chasm that separates us
    mythically disproportionate
    to your truth, or mine.”
    with the rock and the hard place there is no way to acknowledge the other’s truth. it’s not even about truth at this point, you’ve articulated this so well. i appreciate the plea at the end, as while the two exist and the chasm between them there can never be closure. i speak from personal experience. best to remove oneself from the vicinity of the chasm and travel to verdant lands ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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