Ah, so tantalizing, that fruit.

It dangles so provocatively,

Gleaming with light, so beautiful—

And he reaches, reaches, stretches out his starving fingers,

But the branch pulls itself away,

Taking with it that alluring meal.


Immortality, for him, poor man,

Means eternal starvation, staring at

The lovely fruit. Immortality,

For that sadistic soul, means

Only unquenched thirst.


The water is cool against his skin,

Gently laps around him.

He moves his head, seeking satisfaction

For his thirst, for the ache and burn in his throat,

For the dryness on his tongue.

But every time his lips near the water,

It recedes, lowers beyond his reach.

If he had the tears to spare, he would weep.


Tantalus, he is called.

Zeus' son, he walked too tall,

Far too proud. Eating of

Immortality, claiming that which is not his to claim.

Ambrosia on his tongue, memory haunts him here.

In Hades he waits, forever punished for his sick little game.


So tantalizing, that fruit he cannot reach.

So tantalizing, the water he cannot drink.

Ever thirsty, eternally starving—

Poor man, son of Zeus, where now is his crown?


Unto the ending of the world, this is his existence.

For his little joke, is this punishment too much?

Oh, no, not at all. Carving up his son,

Serving his own flesh and blood at a feast for the gods?

Silly man. Sad, sorry, silly little man.


Forever is such a long time.

Eternity, infinite life, starving and parched,

Never sated, never full, never allowed to feed.

The water can be felt but never drunk.

The fruit can be seen but never touched.

How do you savor immortality?