Half mortal son of Zeus, this Lydian king
Shared homage with all of the gods Greeks revered.
When the Mount Olympus dinner bell would ring,
There sat Tantalus, fresh gravy on his beard.
Itís been rumored, that in his own palace, too,
He once entertained and generously fed
This gathering of illustrious gods, who
Unknowingly ate his son, Pelops, instead
Of the ambrosia dish, usual fare.
Boiled in a cauldron and served on a platter,
Itís said Pelopsí thighs were a little too rare,
And Zeus suspected something was the matter.
Well, the gods found Pelops quite hard to digest
And, resenting this test of their omniscience,
They restored Pelops to his full life and zest;
But Tantalus was assigned a tough penance.
Upside down, he was hung over a cool pond
That his dry eager lips could never quite reach.
While dangling nearby, fruit of which he was fond -
Those wise gods had a subtle lesson to teach.
Tantalus swung there for a very long time,
So folks could see that, indeed, it was unwise
To mess with the gods; and for his own vile crime
Food and drink would only serve to tantalize.
© By Richard McCusker (Rmrickmack@aol.com)