Earth-Mother to Oedipus

I smelt familiar blood upon that hand
whose grip confirmed your title to the crown,
but being your possession, on demand
obediently I laid my body down.

You never did distinguish love from rape
before the plague informed you what you'd done.
Imprisoned in an act with no escape,
You've fathered where you were conceived, my son:

Forbidden knowledge, gained without seduction,
since heroes need no argument but force;
and now, my child, my lover, my destruction,
negotiate alone your blind remorse.


© Brian Fewster,
Published in Poetry Nottingham 46/1, Spring 1992

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