I Am Sisyphus, I Am Prometheus (A Bad Case Of The Mondays)

photo credit: Prometheus via photopin (license)
photo credit: Prometheus via photopin (license)

A poem for this Monday and for all Mondays.

I am Sisyphus, I am Prometheus.

Cursed by modern gods, I am punished; I am complicit in my torture.

I am Sisyphus; I bring myself to the hill, I fetch my own stone to push unendingly. I am Prometheus; I chain myself to the rock, I summon the eagle to feast on my liver.

Daily I awaken renewed, resurrected, practically free yet conceptually a prisoner.

Guards of imagined obligation march me to my cubicle, laugh as I lock myself in my soft grey cell.

There is no door on my prison, I stand taller than these short walls, yet I can never escape.

The rock to which I am lashed is an OH&S ergonomically arranged chair perfectly set at an ideal distance from my keyboard and screen; perfectly arranged for minimising pain in my back, and maximising pain in my soul.

My fetters are unreasonable social expectation and an unfathomable financial debt.

I turn on my PC and wait for the eagle, wait for the stones. And I wait…

And wait.

I curse the load time, I curse the waiting, the waiting is worse than the punishment. The wait for the eagle rips at my stomach in a way the eagle is incapable of, my imagination feasts on my viscera relentlessly.

Then… the PC loads and I know I was wrong, the waiting was heaven, the waiting was far too short. I am presented with my tormenter, with my punishment, with my eviscerating eagles and my rolling stones.

My inbox chimes.

I have new mail.

Each notification is a nail in my soul.

A row of unread demon eagles waits patiently in line to tear at my mind with claws of banality and boredom.

A multitude of electronic stones waits patiently to be pushed to the top of my hill, straining the endurance of my sanity beyond the point of failure.

Eagle after eagle. Stone after stone. Task after task after task….

I have new mail.

Tasks that drain, tasks that torment, tasks that unrelentingly replenish themselves in perpetuity. Outlook is a Hydra; when one email is slain two more take its place.

I have new mail.

Despairing, I cast my eyes up to the gods. They remain absent, but on the wall, the picture of the falling cat mocks me.

Hang in there.

The cat is Sisyphus. The cat is Prometheus. The cat is me.

The cat will always hang there, unable to pull itself up and live free, unable to fall to its death and achieve peace.

The cat and I are the same, perpetually in limbo, eternally punished, endlessly tormented.

Hang in there.

Like we have a choice.

Hang in there.

I am the cat.

Hang in there.

I am Sisyphus.

Hang in there.

I am Prometheus.

Hang in there.


I have new mail.

Why did I write a poem over lunch?

No idea. Perhaps it was the existential dread that threatened to overcome me on the bus ride in to work; perhaps it was something in the salad I just ate.

Regardless of the reason, I’m happy with how this one came out. I don’t know anything about poetry, and I only occasionally read it, so I’d love any comments or criticisms (truly, I’ll never learn if I’m not told where I went wrong).



Published by: wildbilbo

My name is Kristian Thoroughgood, alternately known as KT to my friends, or @WildBilbo on twitter. As of August 2015, I am forty years old. Australian. My blog is intended to be both a place for me to polish my creative writing muscles (not a double entendre) and for others to read and comment on my musings. Expect short stories, articles, essays and other brain dumps. My opinions are my own, and whilst I take care to be at least moderately informed about any topic I speak or write about, these opinions are subject to rapid change in the face of passionate arguments and greater evidence. Please note - on my blog, Evidence beats Passion.

Categories Poetry, Rant, WritingTags, , , , , , , , , , , 7 Comments

7 thoughts on “I Am Sisyphus, I Am Prometheus (A Bad Case Of The Mondays)”

  1. KT! Cool that you wrote a poem just because. I am a poetry nerd and a poetry pusher — I think everyone should try to write one now and then as it can be a great way to work out what’s rattling around in our brains. I know your a prose writer, and sometimes I have had ideas or characters emerge in poems that then become a short story. But the poem helps flesh it out. I have a few thoughts about your poem which you can take with a big grain of salt. They’re mostly only worth considering if you feel the push to write more poetry.

    I have a few rules for my own poetry, which are: 1) Keep writing it 2) Keep reading it
    3) Let them sit, wait and ripen before you look at them again 4) Then, revise and cut like it’s not your work — you might go back to the original, but often the slicing and experimenting is what makes it better 5) go easy on the adverbs — they usually don’t add much, and sometimes a stronger verb or more specific noun is really what’s needed.

    I love the mythic gods/daily grind partnership here and the mood of your poem is conveyed so well. Certainly something every office drone can relate to. I would just cut some of the extra words to make the points/metaphors sing a little louder. For example, in your third line, maybe something like:
    I am Sisyphus. I bring myself to the hill. I fetch my own stone.
    I am Prometheus. I chain myself to the rock. I summon the eagle to feast on my liver.

    Sorry to blab on here and this may be WAY more than you wanted from a stranger, but I couldn’t resist the chance to proselytize about poetry. Forgive me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Mannixk – excellent:)

      I appreciate the the thoughtful comment – and you make some excellent points. Your suggestions make sense & I may let this one ‘cool off’ then edit – maybe in a week?

      Anyway thanks for reading 🙂
      Cheers KT


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s