By Sean Dempsey
In ancient lands, where legends dwell,
A tale of sorrow I now shall tell.
Perceive the stone’s eternal path:
To be pushed with mirth, or bathed in wrath.
With futile toil, his bane and plight,
Sisyphus still strives with all his might.
See the stone escape his mortal hand,
And tumble downward through the land.
A cunning mortal, intents profound,
His hubris seemed to know no bounds.
Confronting fate and gods above,
Defying Death with zealous love.
Yet Zeus, enraged by mortal’s care,
Condemned him to pain no one could bear;
No rest for souls of endless strife,
A task of torment for all his life.
See the stone escape his grasp—
An endless loop within time’s clasp.
Its ceaseless roll: a bitter dance!
He watches on with fleeting chance.
The stone’s defiance mocks his soul,
As it evades his deft control.
He strives to halt its downward flow,
The stone’s escapes! A callous blow.
Damn the sorrow of his fate;
He’s forced to face the savage weight.
In rhythmic anguish, he strains and strains,
Through sun and hail, snow and rains.
No respite granted, nor reprieve,
As the stone eludes and takes its leave.
He rolls, he sweats, he groans, he cries,
Unlike man, stones tell no lies.
Eternal echoes, his heart they toll,
The tale of Sisyphus’ restless soul.
In ceaseless dark, despair and pain,
He doth chase the stone, but all in vain.
Oh, bitter pill of fate’s cruel game,
To pursue a stone, with no acclaim.
In shadows dark, he finds his role,
Forever bound to a senseless goal.
Hear the mournful echoes that hell brings,
The demons laugh and beat their wings;
A poignant dirge their rhythm tells:
This man in hell who once rebelled.
The hell-rats shriek and mourn his name:
“You dreadful wretch; shame, shame, shame!”
“Your lot is worse than our lake of fire;
You suffer more than we thieves and liars.”
The task unfinished, he begins anew;
Hand to the plow—for that’s what’s true.
Useless toil: cruel gods’ great plan—
As is the senseless plight of every man.