Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Friday, October 19, 2012

October 19: A Griffin and a Sphinx

We were brothers once in Egypt, you and I.
I left for Knossos, that island in time,
Griffin fresco in the "Throne Room",
Palace of Knossos, Crete, Bronze Age (Wikipedia)
and you for Thebes.
Seduced by the Greeks, you still have
our lion’s body and wings, but now
you’re graced with a woman’s face
and a serpent’s tail.
I cannot answer your riddle, but I know
you will not bite my throat.
I could save you from these Greek witches.
Just one of my feathers will cure your blindness.
We could guard Alexander’s tomb together.
I could fly you to the Andes far from here.
I will protect you, Brother Sister.
Transform me into bronze,
Dumbledore’s staff.
I will stay by your side.

Marble Sphinx dated 540 BC Acropolis Museum,
Athens (Wikipedia)
Today's poetry prompt from Octpowrimo (write a poem a day for October) is "Seize the Day!"  Read what others have written HERE.

But, I was intrigued by Lena Corazon's poem, “A Griffin guards my dreams . . .” and the beautiful cover of her writing journal, and so wrote sideways about the conversation a Sphinx might have with a Griffin. I had fun reading about both mythical creatures on Wikipedia.

What was the riddle of the Sphinx? Two versions: The most common, “Who walks on four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?” If you were unable to answer, the Sphinx would bite your throat, strangling you and holding you down until you died. 

But Wikipedia reports a second version: "There are two sisters: One gives birth to the other, and she, in turn, gives birth to the first. Who are the two sisters?" I can imagine this second question being asked by the later, feminized Greek Sphinx. The answer is Night and Day.


  1. I love this one!

  2. Totally enjoyed this.

  3. Great, Beth. Love the poem and the riddles. Ancient Egypt always fascinates me.

  4. Beth, I absolutely love what you've done with this myth, and to see that my mention of the griffin started you down this path. It's crazy what can spark our inspiration. :D

    1. Thanks, Lena, for the word-love. I did really like your journal -- and your poem!