A light-hearted poetic peek at Hercules' tenth labor, levied as punishment for his sins.
| The Cattle Of Geryon
Sun God admired nine tests retired,
Gave Herc a gilded gift.
A golden boat o’er seas to float,
Thence westward set adrift.
Herc journeyed forth to end of earth,
To settle cattle chore.
And ‘long the way found beasts to slay
‘Til reaching distant shore.
Discovered strait, Atlantic gate
Where land tried interlock.
From granite stone built massive throne,
Known as Gibraltar Rock.
Thence splitting slate, two mounts create
For guarding inland seas.
Twin peaks of fame still bear his name;
Pillars of Hercules.
On isle remote Herc beached his boat
With plan to swipe bovine.
But monster guards in cattle yards
‘Tween him and herd divine.
A roguish brute protecting loot
Stood poised and prepped for fight.
And at its flank, a hound so rank
Not one, but two heads bite.
First threat inbound was Orthus hound,
Devil dog charged ahead.
Twin trouble clubbed, he double drubbed
Each hellish head ‘til dead.
The Titan vexed, his charge was next
And rushed to even score.
Herc brought it down by cracking crown;
The big brute breathed no more.
Done with battle, found the cattle
Knee deep in grassy field.
Tho’ stealth was planned to sneak from land,
His theft was not concealed.
Eyes in village spied the pillage,
Reported herd’s hijack.
To stop the thief from taking beef,
Geryon sprung attack.
Three headed sort, two legs support
Trip torsos joined at waist.
And fierce defends his cattle pens,
At once intruders chased.
Herc aimed his dart straight for the heart,
T'was tipped with Hydra’s bile.
The Gorgon beast collapsed deceased,
Now free to leave the Isle.
Relaxed afloat with herd in boat,
Thought easy deed was done.
Yet peace at sea not meant to be,
His trammels just begun.
Poseidon’s sons made pirate runs,
Sought booty boats to seize.
Two tried to steal the herd in keel,
Both killed by Hercules.
In midst of fight, the bull took flight
Jumped railing easily.
It swam like hell for quite a spell
‘Til reaching Sicily.
Herc found the bull quite comfortable
Grazing on hillside hay.
Poseidon’s third had put in herd,
Refused return of stray.
Third son decreed, “before ‘tis freed,
My king and I are team.”
Thus boxing bout the pair worked out,
Three times Herc beat them clean.
Thence slew the king, told punk to bring
The bull he won in pact.
Now safe in boat, once more afloat,
Sailed on with herd intact.
Tho’ trek near close, more trouble rose
As Hera fumed with spite.
Her grievous grudge refused to budge,
Conceived a pesky plight.
She filled the skies with swarms o’ flies;
Plagued herd of Hercules.
Her sneering snit sent bugs that bit,
A menace worse than fleas.
To flee the dread, the cattle fled,
Swam seas to Isle of Thrace.
Took year to catch the scattered batch,
Now miffed from second chase.
Herc’s need to vent from fly torment,
Caused anger to inflame.
Thus to avenge, he sought revenge
But wrongly placed the blame.
Thought nasty gnats from river flats
Was source that cursed his cows.
Filled shipping lanes with boulder banes
That peeled ship’s keels from bows.
Despite the pests, put tenth to rest,
Tho’ waste of time, his heist.
‘Cause king absurd killed precious herd;
For Hera sacrificed.
Since tenth was done, his twelfth less one
Was tough test to produce.
A wedding gift he had to lift;
The golden fruit of Zeus.