I'd call this place hell

if it didn't sound so final.

I prefer: The Underworld:

awe clapping its great wings about our heads.

My daughter read the hero's name without ever

having heard it said:

Useless, she informed us, blinded the Cyclops.

Useless: that's a name he might have liked,

next to Nobody, next to Walk-through-the-fires-of-the-dead.

First things first, he learned, usefully.

Back to the living,

the false world, the changing one

where customs differ,

but where everyone wants certainty to last.

So, much later, a poet wrote of an infant god

whirling in flames:

Poor Robert Southwell, first strung up,

next gutted, then beheaded.