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Angelica Kauffman (1741–1807), Ariadne Abandoned by Theseus (1774), oil on canvas, 90.9 × 63.8 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX. Wikimedia Commons.

 

Ariadne

When you found me

I was burdened and laden

With secrets and responsibilities:

There was a maze and labyrinth

And a monster on my mind.

You, a thinker,

You dared to surmount this maze,

This labyrinth that no man

Dared attempt before

With any laurels.

And I let you.

 

I guided you through the maze,

I led you through the labyrinth:

Through its depths and intricacies,

Through things that

No one else could understand.

No one else could understand

Except you and me.

And I let you.

 

I brought you to the monster,

The raging horror that

Showed me my insignificance,

That kept me tethered

And afraid.

But you seemed so unafraid,

So determined to keep me safe

From this thing

That could tear me apart

And break me to pieces.

You said you wanted to protect me.

And I let you.

 

You and I came out of the maze,

Understanding it

And one another.

We made our escape

And I felt lighter than air.

The ocean waves we traveled across

Were nothing.

I did not fear wind nor wave nor element

Because I had you.

 

When we made our rest on the island

Things changed.

I strayed from your side,

But a moment it seemed,

And you were gone.

The will of the gods?

It matters not,

Because, at the end of it all,

You left me.

I came back,

But you were already gone.

 

I saw the ship sailing away.

It seemed so close,

But you were beyond my reach.

And I am left on the beach,

Wondering what I did;

Replaying moments in time

Over

And

Over again.

I pray

To Aphrodite, to Zeus,

To anyone and anything,

That you made a mistake;

That you will turn around

And welcome me back aboard.

 

But I am left,

Watching your black-sailed ship

Disappear on the horizon.

Why does it move so slow?

 

I led you through

The most intricate parts

Of me.

And now I am

Mortified

(Terrified)

That I thought you understood;

That I thought I understood.

And as much as I want to hope

I remind myself

(I know)

That you chose to leave me.

And I let you.

-M.L.

Questions for the Author:

How did you first hear about Ariadne? What about her story inspired this poem?

I’ve read Greek mythology…a lot.  For a long time. In 6th grade I all of a sudden checked out every version of the myths I could possibly find at the library and read them all. I’ve always been really fascinated by all the stories the story of Theseus, Ariadne, and the labyrinth was always one that fascinated me and broke my heart. I found myself in a situation last year where Ariadne’s story was a really good creative outlet for me. I felt like I could relate to her heartbreak. But I chose the story in part as a comfort to myself. At the end of the story, Ariadne is left alone, but she doesn’t know that it was the will of a god and that something better is waiting for her.

I related to Ariadne a lot. The fact she is showing someone around but also in the process is showing who she is to this person (to Theseus) and that he leaves, in the end, is quite sad. Did you intend for this to be a kind of cautionary tale, or for readers to identify with the kind of hurt Ariadne is feeling?

Well, for me it was an identification thing. I was experiencing that hurt and confusion and the story was able to communicate that for me very well. I guess I wouldn’t like to call it a cautionary tale, because I don’t think we should be afraid of opening up to people. It takes a lot of trust to do so, and sometimes things don’t work out. But it is okay to trust people.

Who are you inspired by? 

Madeleine L’Engle is a favorite writer of mine. She writes a lot about art and creativity and it always makes me tear up a little. She and I are both inspired by C.S. Lewis, a brilliant writer and Christian. I am inspired by my mom who, even in her busy life, has managed to find time to keep up creativity and help me cultivate it in myself. My sisters are all really good writers too! A musical group that always gives me inspiration is Sleeping At Last. The lyrics to their songs are masterful and the music is incredibly moving.

What’s one of the best creative advice you’ve ever been given?

Oooo…good question! I always really like the phrase: first drafts don’t have to be good, they just have to be written. Okay, and this is bad, but I can’t remember who said this or the exact quote or anything but I like to create by the idea that, if you write about the dark, it should be to show that there is light. And I ultimately believe that all that we do is to the glory of God.

Ariadnein Greek mythology, is the daughter of Pasiphae and the Cretan king Minos. She fell in love with the Athenian hero Theseus and, with a thread or glittering jewels, and helped him escape the Labyrinth after he slew the Minotaur, a beast half bull and half man that Minos kept in the Labyrinth.


Maren Thompson is a sophomore double majoring in English and Theatre. She loves to read, write, paint, draw, and do numerous other creative projects. Eventually, she would like to pursue a higher degree and potentially have a career within the theatre doing design and research.

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