Plain young maiden, serpentine hair

Some say she’s ugly, not very fair

Living at the world’s edge, so little experience

But small towns don’t expect a daily appearance


Central shrine built on a jetty into the sea

Maiden nightly buffs marble floors hiding, apparently

Escapes the chit-chat encouraged by the sun

Light from the moon is kinder to such a one


Weekly, Athena comes to pay her wage

Criticizing despite being a respected mage

One night a man appears on the swirling sand

Ocean behind him eroding the spit of land


Handsome and strong he enters the room

Maiden rises from the floor, sensing her doom

“Stay,” he says, “Tell me who you are”

Maiden murmurs a plea to the evening star


“Speak up,” he orders and she recognizes him

The sea ruler Poseidon, desiring her on a whim

So many beautiful women in their city

Why does he want she who is not pretty?


Maiden turns, tries to run but is caught

He reeks of grapes, she cries out completely distraught

He leaves her bloody and bruised as she cries

Athena returns and accuses her of lies


“I curse you!” shouts the angry mage

“For tempting him you will suffer!” said in a rage

The maiden’s serpentine hair turns into snakes

A fitting crime, says Athena, as the maiden’s heart breaks


Her eyes tingle, Athena’s curse complete

Mage leaves as another man enters the shrine of deceit

He greets the maiden, looking into her face

Then turns to stone as snakes and eyes interlace


Maiden Medusa, driven from her home

Seeks revenge around her world that she will roam

Until Perseus beheads her with his famed sword

Using the shield in lands he has explored


Pegasus, winged horse, sprung from her head

A protective amulet that many learn to dread

Athena, wily mage, forces Perseus to yield

The head of Medusa to place in her shield


Ah, it seems to me that injustice always reigned

And plain women have always been constrained

Blaming the victim, especially in rape, has not changed

Although the words and meanings have been rearranged


Medusa, you were forced beyond your cognition

Your only talent lying in your submission

Luckless, loveless, lacking beauty

You nevertheless tried to do your duty


Medusa, modern women share your pain and honor you…

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE: Medusa by Caravaggio