In a conversation I had recently, the topic of Greek mythology and such came up, and I started thinking about the whole idea of after you die, you have to pay Charon the Ferryman a gold drachma so he'll take you across the river Styx into Hades' realm. I'm pretty sure I've read that the Ancient Greeks buried their dead with a drachma for this purpose, but that got me thinking: what if you couldn't pay the Ferryman? This stemmed into an idea which I've written in both poem and short story format.

Do let me know which is your favourite!

Chris xx


As I lay there

Cold and fading fast,

I thought not of my snowy shroud,

But of the light blue dress

I wore one day in summer;


The day we held hands,

Spoke of dreams and realities,

And climbed the old oak tree.


That was before he was taken

And all his faults came to light;

Many of which I share.


As I thought, I prepared myself

For what would come next.

My mind flitted between warm clouded landscapes

And tortures to last an age.


I did not know which fate

Lay beyond my demise,

And I did not expect

What awaited me when, at last,

I left the snow behind.


The hooded Ferryman stood,

Decaying vessel at his feet.

And demanded of me his wage.


A Single Golden Drachma

Ordered the cast-iron voice;

The onyx-black hand

Outstretched impatiently.


But I could not pay the Ferryman.


I told him the truth;

That I had no riches in life,

And so now in death

I carried nothing.


But those hollow eyes

Held no sympathy for yet another

Who could not pay his charge.


I told him I should swim,

If he would not help me cross.


So he dragged me to the edge

Of the churning coal-dark waters,

And asked me if I dared:

None Have Yet Withstood The Styx.


Faces appeared in the waves,

Unknown, decaying, tormented.

And though the Ferryman said no more,

I knew them to be the faces

Of those who paid no toll.


I fell into despair over my fate,

For I could not remain on that shore

Eternally; but neither did I dare

Give myself to the devouring current.


Then from the nameless dead,

I singled out an unexpected familiarity.

And so I bade goodbye to the Ferryman,

Sacrificing myself to the soul-fed tumult.


The waters of the Styx enveloped me,

Unforgiving. Acid burned every cell away,

And whatever shell I wore dissolved;

With it, the pain vanished.


And in the converging darkness,

He came to me again;

My lost love.

For we shared the same fate.


We could not pay the Ferryman.


Thoughts?

Short-story version to be uploaded shortly!