Daniel Brick

Gold Star - 72,156 Points (June 10,1947 / St. Paul MN)

Daedalus Reveals His Secrets - Poem by Daniel Brick

His Pride
I have scattered pieces of myself
in every land I have stopped. Sometimes
elaborate toys pleasing to a child, or
to the child-hours of an adult. Sometimes
a great weapon to forever link my name
with the heroes. Other times I have left
a few diagrams on a scroll, or a sequence
of powerful numbers, delivered in my obscure
script only a passionate scholar can grasp.
I have a subtle mind, only a few have
received the gift of knowing its origins.
(You slipped through my life
like wine slips through sheepskin.
Splashes of you stained my robes.)

His Obsessions
I lived in a garden for three years.
They were blissful years. My son, ICARUS,
was born in the second year. His mother
was a lovely slave serving in King Leontes's
court. The courtiers laughed when I married
her. Oh, how we loved that garden!
The rainbow of colors against the dry earth
of the surrounding landscape was our daily
delight. But, one fateful day, I heard
the ugly cackle of birds. I looked up
into that cloudless blue iron sky, and
saw scores of sun-struck black birds
flying in an immense wheel which fell
apart, reformed, rolled upward into
blinding light, fell apart again, scattering
birds across the wide sky realm...
I was an absent thing. My garden delights
vanished under that huge blue sky dome.
Why am I not in that flight? was my only
thought. Why do the Olympians, sky-dwellers
themselves, fill the sky only with feathered
flight? Why not us? Why not me? Thus began
my life-long quest: to possess the sky
as a fleshly being in full flight!
(You... You slipped... from
my life, my dear one.)

His Ordeals
The dwarfish King of Abydos
tortured Amene mercilessly
to force me to build for him
a terrible weapon: in one attack,
it destroyed a whole island of
rebels, and then the other islands
meekly surrendered to his glory.
My invention was their dark fate!

After the dwarfish King released
us, with gifts and promises, but
no remorse, to house arrest,
I nursed Amene's wounds, I watched
over her sleep. She smiled through
her pain we placed flowers on her bed.
When her soul fled her body, the boy
and I had no further tears to shed.

For many rulers, all seeking new
killing machines, I, Daedalus, Great
Artificer, satisfied their lust
for power and glory - but every one was
murdered by a follower who seized that
power and glory. In the chaos that ensued,
the boy and I fled to the next sheltering
tyrant, and the gods were ever silent.

Finally, it was the Great King of Crete,
MINOS, Lord of the Seas, who clawed me
into her service. He spoke darkly
into his wine about what a proud
man I was, 'Yes, so proud, to have
a son who rivals Adonis in beauty, Perseus
in daring, Nestor in intelligence.
He should be a King's son, a Prince.'

I shuddered under his stern gaze.
I bowed to hide my fright: 'To do
you service, Great Lord, is to increase
my honor - ' My goblet tipped and spilled
wine on dry, cracked earth. Minos stood
suddenly, soldiers clustered around him.
'Daedalus, rumors of your flying machine
abound. We would have it for ourselves.'

His Sacrifice
The night before the first flight
above King Minos's assembled court,
I led Icarus through the maze
to a tunnel that would take him
to the sea and a waiting ship.
We had hardly spoken for hours
as we attached the wings to our
masterpiece, an artificial man
who would fly with me the next
morning and be destroyed by the Sun.
At the tunnel entrance, we embraced
and sobbed. Suddenly, he pulled himself
free so violently, I fell to the ground.
Then our eyes locked on the same beam
of light, and I saw into my son's soul,
and he into mine, And it was enough.
Icarus disappeared into the tunnel's darkness.

His Joy
King Minos displayed no curiosity
over Icarus's death. He even presided
over a farewell ceremony with his whole
court present. And that was an end to it.
As for my invention, it proved to be
too fragile, too dangerous. It was soon
forgotten. Myself, I was humbled, and
prayed to the gods to forgive my intrusion
into their sky-realm. Every morning,
I repay their goodness with my sacrifice.
The years have passed, the decades have
piled up behind me. I have continue to
serve faithfully immortal kings and mortal
kings, and my reward is my house, my workshop,
my garden. And now whether I breathe the scent
of flowers flowing over the still earth,
or see birds tumbling against columns
of sunlight, it is the same to me:
scent or sight, silence or sound,
growth or flight - to me, it is the same wonder
in my mind, and my heart beats
faster, faster, 'I saved my son! I saved
my son! '

Topic(s) of this poem: myth, narrative

Form: Dramatic Monologue


Comments about Daedalus Reveals His Secrets by Daniel Brick

  • Diane Hine (4/12/2015 7:15:00 AM)


    To feel responsible for your own child's suffering must be the most terrible of burdens. This is an 'if only' poem for Daedalus. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Mihaela Pirjol (3/19/2015 10:48:00 AM)


    Once again through your poems, you take the readers back to the wonders of Greek Mythology! This poem it is very masterfully crafted as Daedalus himself; when he constructed Wings for his son Icarus. And by analogy, every mortal father tries to inspire: freedom and faith in dreams to their sons. (Report) Reply

  • Magdalena Biela (3/19/2015 7:57:00 AM)


    Yes, you saved your son, you built your son! This poem is for me the greatest love-confession of a Father to his Son, for there is no greater pride, ordeal, joy a man could feel than knowing that all his legacy will be carried on through generations...Yes, a woman's womb carry the child but The Creator is The Man. There can be any womb, hence the surrogate mother, BUT there can be ONLY ONE MAN to be THE FATHER. The Poet and his Son can be all heroes, immortal and mortal Kings for the Father knows that his DNA is saved with His Son. The Poet knows that he will be remembered centuries to come through his Son's sons and their sons. Simply wonderful to behold...Daniel, thank you for this creation, for there is not greater creation, better and more complete Poem than TO BE A FATHER TO YOUR SON. (Report) Reply

    Daniel Brick Daniel Brick (4/11/2015 2:25:00 PM)

    Thank you, Magdalena, . for seeing so deeply into my soul through your comment. In an interview, Seamus Heaney paused for a moment and said, No parent can say about his child, no mistakes there. Then he laughed brightly. Your comment on fatherhood dispels my doubts and I too am laughing brightly.

  • Magdalena Biela (3/19/2015 5:05:00 AM)


    Yes, you saved your son, you built your son! This poem is for me the greatest love-confession of a Father to his Son, for there is no greater pride, ordeal, joy a man could feel than knowing that all his legacy will be carried on through generations...Yes, a woman's womb carry the child but The Creator is The Man. There can be any womb, hence the surrogate mother, BUT there care can be ONLY ONE MAN to be THE FATHER. The Poet and his Son can be all heroes, immortal and mortal Kings for the Father knows that his DNA is saved with His Son. The Poet knows that he will be remembered centuries to come through his Son's sons and their sons. Simply wonderful to behold...Daniel, thank you for this creation, for there is not greater creation, better and more complete Poem than TO BE A FATHER TO YOUR SON. (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini (3/16/2015 7:28:00 AM)


    A very well penned poem, Daniel - as all your poems, I have to say.
    Daedalus/Icarus story is here cleverly revisited: it is quite an interesting variation, where you imagine that
    Icarus disappeared into the tunnel's darkness - and through there, to freedom and to a longer life than the sad one Myth assigns him.
    Yes, it is a bright and intriguing variation, but this way, his fate becomes that of a mere mortal...
    From this point of view, Daedalus In The Labyrinth has a more powerful poetic expression, Daniel. And you know that it remains my favourite one :)
    (Report) Reply

    Daniel Brick Daniel Brick (4/11/2015 2:31:00 PM)

    I agree with your viewpoint that the earlier Daedalus poem is more powerful; it's also imbued mythic energy, This one treats the myth as a fragment of history. You can see Robt. Oppenheimer in this Daedalus, and he comes across first as a parent, only secondarily as a mythic figure. The first poem serves the myth; the second one USES the myth.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, March 15, 2015



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