Theban Shocker

by Stewart Alter

What tabloid today wouldn’t long to tell
“Cult Mom and Aunts Rip Son to Shreds!”
How Pentheus died at the Bacchanal
When they thought him a boar
And then tore off his head.

This story surely would lead the news,
“King who Defied the God is Slain!”
They’d replay his speeches and interviews
From his famous attacks
On Bacchus’s train.

How online comments could fuel that debate,
“Killers or Victim, Whose Crime was Worse?”
For didn’t this king seek to violate
A god’s sacred rite
In spite of a curse?

When the TV talkers tackle this theme,
“Men and Mothers They Don’t Understand,”
Could they ever explain that feral dream
Of family bonds abandoned,
Lured by a tambourine band.

Stewart Alter, who joined LP2 in the Fall of 2020, has been writing poetry and painting intermittently before, during and now after a long career in business journalism and corporate communications.