Friday, March 30, 2012


Bestiary-blogging, entry 7 of 9

Three years ago, my son Terry and I wrote a young adult fantasy novel called The Poem Beasts. It is currently submitted for consideration at a major publisher. In honor of the opening of the movie of The Hunger Games, a major work in the young adult genre, we offer a taste of our work—nine days of the poems of The Poem Beasts.

The Pegasus

"Pegasus" woodblock print by Terry Price.

Gliding gracefully across golden sunsets
With wide wings to catch the wind, the Pegasus
The offspring of Neptune, released by Perseus
From Medusa’s severed, spurting neck
And cloud-striding steed of Bellerophon
Killer of the cursed Chimera of old
With hue of hoar-frost on his hide and plumage
The star-eyed horse descends to rescue
Pure-hearted prisoners from unjust peril
And carry them to comfort and safety through the Illyian clouds

Historical Background:
The winged horse Pegasus is a famous image whose background myth often goes unmentioned in popular culture.  The story of Pegasus begins in the rivalry between Poseidon (lord of the sea, with the horse as his animal symbol) and Athena, the virgin goddess of war and wisdom.  Poseidon made love with a woman in a temple of Athena.  Revenging this sacrilege, Athena transformed the woman (named Medusa) into a snake-haired Gorgon whose eyes turned onlookers into stone.  Eventually Medusa was killed by Perseus, and an unexpected offspring, the winged horse Pegasus, leaped from her severed neck.  Pegasus would go on to assist a variety of heroes besides Perseus, most notably Bellerophon of Corinth who killed the Chimera.  The Olympian gods immortalized Pegasus as one of the great constellations.

Pegasus on a coin from Carthage,
first Punic War, 264-241 BC.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.

© 2012 Lee and Terry Price  

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