Dusty Poetry #97

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The Erinyes

We were both angry.
Then I was beside myself
When you said goodbye.

From wiki:

The Erinyes live in Erebus and are more ancient than any of the Olympian deities. Their task is to hear complaints brought by mortals against the insolence of the young to the aged, of children to parents, of hosts to guests, and of householders or city councils to suppliants—and to punish such crimes by hounding culprits relentlessly.

The Erinyes are crones and, depending upon authors, described as having snakes for hair, dog’s heads, coal black bodies, bat’s wings, and blood-shot eyes. In their hands they carry brass-studded scourges, and their victims die in torment. The Erinyes are commonly associated with night and darkness. With varying accounts claiming that they are the daughters of Nyx, the goddess of night, they’re also associated with darkness in the works of Aeschylus and Euripides in both their physical appearance and the time of day that they manifest.

Description of Tishiphone in Statius Thebaid

So prayed he, and the cruel goddess turned her grim visage to hearken. By chance she sat beside dismal Cocytus, and had loosed the snakes from her head and suffered them to lap the sulphurous waters. Straightway, faster than fire of Jove or falling stars she leapt up from the gloomy bank: the crowd of phantoms gives way before her, fearing to meet their queen; then, journeying through the shadows and the fields dark with trooping ghosts, she hastens to the gate of Taenarus, whose threshold none may cross and again return. Day felt her presence, Night interposed her pitchy cloud and startled his shining steeds; far off towering Atlas shuddered and shifted the weight of heaven upon his trembling shoulders. Forthwith rising aloft from Malea’s vale she hies her on the well-known way to Thebes: for on no errand is she swifter to go and to return, not kindred Tartarus itself pleases her so well. A hundred horned snakes erect shaded her face, the thronging terror of her awful head; deep within her sunken eyes there glows a light of iron hue, as when Atracian spells make travailing Phoebe redden through the clouds; suffused with venom, her skin distends and swells with corruption; a fiery vapour issues from her evil mouth, bringing upon mankind thirst unquenchable and sickness and famine and universal death. From her shoulders falls a stark and grisly robe, whose dark fastenings meet upon her breast: Atropos and Proserpine herself fashion her this garb anew. Then both her hands are shaken in wrath, the one gleaming with a funeral torch, the other lashing the air with a live water-snake.