Hughes Blues Part Five

For whatever reason, I just felt like reading some more poetry by Hughes and I was delightfully surprised this morning. I’m nearing the conclusion of my story so I stopped to think about what this all means. Like what does being a god have to do with this? Just in case you didn’t know, a drastic oversimplification of the premise is that it’s Greek mythology in present day U.S. While I was writing everything up until now, it really didn’t matter much that they were gods. My approach was that of overly privileged humans, one of whom semi-frequently wonders what it means to be a god with no definitive answer. But gradually, the question formed and I began asking Hai this question over and over.

My, and Hai’s of course, short, and intentionally vague, answer is a quote from Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed. “In my years, I have seen that people must be their own gods and make their own good fortune. The bad will come or not come anyway.”

Obviously, it’s not that simple, but it’s this quote that keeps coming to mind when I think about it, when my protag thinks about it. It’s difficult to unpack it in one go. Every time I revisit it, it means something wholly different. But I think I found a poem or two that help me ground myself in what it’s ended up meaning in this story.


The ivory gods,
And the ebony gods,
And the gods of diamond and jade,
Sit silently on their temple shelves
While the people
Are afraid.
Yet the ivory gods,
And the ebony gods,
And the gods of diamond-jade,
Are only silly puppet gods
That the people themselves
Have made.


I am God
Without one friend,
Alone in my purity
World without end.

Below me young lovers
Tread the sweet ground
But I am God
I cannot come down.

Life is love!
Love is life only!
Better to be human
Than God and lonely.

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