Iphis and Ianthe
Posted by Tony
According to today’s Recycle, Reuse, Rewrite prompt, we are to ‘Find an old poem or two that you’ve abandoned and find a line, a title or a concept that really grabs you. Now use those to start a new poem, going in a direction entirely different than the original.’ I have written two or three different poems on the story of Iphis and Ianthe from Ovid’s Metamorphoses (English translation of the story) and decided to write another one, in a new direction, for this challenge.
Iphis and Ianthe: the end
There’s no transforming a girl to a boy,
this Iphis knows, but pretends the goddess
has answered her mother’s prayers and leaves
the temple with a testicular stride.
Ianthe knows (how could she not) and trembles
as the ceremony pledges her her mate.
But soon the judgement begins. Grow out your
beard, Iphis is told; Ianthe is said
to be barren; their home is not home to
accustomed discord. They’re letting both sides
down. They leave. And, as the past and the village
dwindles behind, Iphis grows to a woman.
They invent a tale of sisters betrothed
to a god and settle to faithful lives.