Poems to Ponder...Sisyphus Envy

By Larry L. Conners

Sisyphus Envy

 

 

Oh, but to have the passion of Sisyphus.....To be contemptuous of Hope...

To look forward to the endless struggle...To rail against that heartless slope...

Freedom is found within the heart, Tyranny cannot enter thee..

We are invincible, we are defiant of life's absurdity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APOk7phgafE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5MdFdAe_JY

More by this Author

  • Walter Benton: The Passionate Poet
    90

    Walter Benton has been my bedside companion for a very long time, going back to college where I discovered him 50 years ago. I have shared him with many " creatures of an hour ", most intimately with my...


Comments 51 comments

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

Wow! Sisyphus is often presented to students as one who is tormented and hopeless, but this is a different view.


maven101 profile image

maven101 8 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Not really a different view...Camus expresses much the same in his " The Myth of Sisyphus ". The struggle to accomplish absolutely nothing is heroic and uplifting. His scorn of the gods, his hatred of death, and his passion for life, all acknowledge that the struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. He has concentrated on his freedom, his refusal to hope, and the sublime acknowledgement of the absurdity of his situation. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.


bgamall profile image

bgamall 7 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

But what if he isn't happy? And what if knowing he has no choice is crushing?


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Hi bgmall, mice to see you again....lol

It may seem an unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted towards accomplishing nothing. But Sisyphus is conscious of his plight., and therein lies the tragedy. For if, during those moments, as the rock decends, he nourished the hope that he would yet succeed, then his labor would lose its torment. But he is clearly conscious of the extent of his own misery. It is this lucid recognition of his destiny that transforms his torment into victory.

His victory, and happiness, is testament to man's allegiance to man ( and himself ) and not giving in to abstractions or absolutes.

He must be saying that this heart I can feel, and I judge that it exists. This world I can touch ( and move ) and I likewise judge that it exists. There ends all my knowledge, the rest is mere construction. His passion frees him. He is happy.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

I don't know about the gods of mythology, maven 101, but I have found that we humans are not always predictable. Often those you would think may be depressed by their fate are truly happy while those more fortunate exist in a living Hell. I love the stories of mythology. I only wish I had a better memory.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Thanks for the memory, William......I know what you mean about memory loss...it can be very frustrating... though, on the other hand, it could be a blessing...I have found that when I am unable to recall certain people, places, or events I Google it and learn even more than I had known before...

Example: Just last night I was trying to recall for a friend, a great Australian Shiraz I had enjoyed years ago. I Googled Australian Wineries and found not only the winery ( Amon-Ra ), but the interesting history of Australian wine making, some dating back to the 1820's. Of course, as a history teacher and wine enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoyed my little sojourn into this hitherto unknown ( to me ) world of Australian wine making. If I had recalled the name I would never have been treated to this vicarious adventure.

Your comment reminds me of something M. Gandhi said: Live life as if you will die tomorrow; Learn as if you will live forever...

I will never be poor or bored, sad or mad, as long as I have my curiosity, my family, my friends, and of course, a glass of fine wine.


Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

good one


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California

A happy heart and a sad soul... I think that was me last year, thinking I was happy and yet not living my life to the fullest. I take more challenges now, and though it means more embarrassment and confusion, I find that my life is much more interesting and meaningful now.

That is my interpretation of that fantastic phrase :)


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Glassvisage ( love that screen name ): Thank you for that fantastic interpretation of my poem...

Having a happy heart and a sad soul is very Irish...


MamaDragonfly2677 profile image

MamaDragonfly2677 7 years ago from New York

maven, I find you so inspiring. You have such a way with words... Maybe I will be able to put my thoughts together as you do someday... Until then, keep writing! I'd like it if you could give me a lesson on Walter Benton... What do ya think? BTW, where in AZ do you live? I have family in Lake Havasu City... Is that far from you?


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Thank you, Mama...I feel humbled by your comments. Yes indeed, keep writing ( and reading ), let your heart and mind flow from your hand...your Hubs are always interesting and wide-ranging...I like that..there are so many wild and wonderful experiences, people, and places to discover, and to pass on to others for their erudication and enjoyment.

I am putting together a Hub on Walter Benton...perhaps next week.

I live in Clarkdale, which is in northern Arizona, 10 min. south of Sedona. Probably about 2 hours north of Lake Havasu. It is truly heaven on earth here.


MamaDragonfly2677 profile image

MamaDragonfly2677 7 years ago from New York

So I have heard! I can only hope to see it with my own eyes someday. I've only asked for pics for four years now, and I STILL haven't seen any! My "brother" was supposed to send my daughter some pics of AZ for her school project, and never did! I told her we would go take some ourselves someday...lol

As far as Walter Benton, I thank you very much! mmwwaaa! I can't wait!

By the way, did I tell you that you look VERY familiar to me? (It's that deja-vu thing...) Maybe you just resemble someone I know, but MAN, it sure feels like quite a coincidence!

Caio for now maven101!

(my email is dragonfly101...lol)<--another coincidence???!!!


EYES CHAMbERS 7 years ago

HAVE YOU EVER READ KAHLIL GIbRAN'S WORK? HE'S MY FAVORITE POET. OLD bUT GOOD STUFF.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Hi Eyes...Yes I have ..Gibran is a wonderful writer...very philosophical and enlightening...my favorite quote from him is " Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity..".

If you like Gibran you may want to check out " The Soul of Rumi " translated by Coleman Barks...written in the 13th century by Sufi Master Rumi...His poem " Sneezing out Animals " is hilarious...


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

Just your cooments alone have humbled me master alphabet knitter


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Haw..!! Master alphabet knitter...my Latin teacher, Sister Kazamara, would have laughed at that...my knuckles are still sore from the many rappings she gave me....thanks for the comment CC...


Ladybird33 profile image

Ladybird33 7 years ago from Georgia USA

Great pick Larry! You always make me think! I appreciate it.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Ladybird...Thank you so much for your kind comment...thinking is good, thinking results in undiscovered adventures of the mind...we never really " know " until we think it through...critical thinking was the most important lesson I learned in college...Larry


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

I was thinking about you Larry and hope you and family are well. Thank you for this work... it is so simple yet complex with such a great choice/mix of words and artwork.

You take care my friend; all the best..Rob


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Hi Rob...Thanks for the nice comments...I respect your discerning opinions and taste as always...Family is fine...been away from HubPages for a couple of days getting the house winterized...that's always a fun job...Would rather be fishing...The best to you and yours, Larry


Jess Killmenow profile image

Jess Killmenow 7 years ago from Nowheresville, Eastern United States

As the donkey said in Shrek, "Love what you've done with the place. That's a nice boulder. That is a nice boulder."

Keep up the good work!


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Hi Jess...A stone is a rock is a boulder, but its my boulder...or, metaphorically, my choice...thanks for commenting, Larry


habee profile image

habee 7 years ago from Georgia

I'va always thought that happiness, for the most part, is internal - not external. Since Sisyphus had formerly conquered Death and placed him in chains,I think his plight also says something about the triumph of the human spirit.

Great hub! Made me think. Now my head hurts. lol


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Hi habee...Thanks for stopping by and leaving the thoughtful comments...Indeed, happiness is internal, within the heart of man, and, as seen with Sisyphus, that happiness is manifested in his struggle against the gods, against destiny, and his passion for life...he hates death and will not submit one inch to him...the struggle fills his heart...do not pity him, for he is happy...he triumphs over all...Larry


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

Finding happiness in struggle is something I can relate to.

The determination to fight adversity in spite the practical futility of efforts makes Sisyphus less of a “fool” and more of a positive example; somehow it falls in line with the idea that the journey gives one more pleasure than reaching the destination.


maven101 profile image

maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Petra...Sisyphus is aware of the absurdity of his situation...he refuses to hope, instead he takes supreme pleasure in the struggle, denying any thoughts of external freedom... He has found his freedom in his heart...I guess that's why many of us , having arrived at our destination, continue the journey with fresh eyes and fresh passions...is it not in the nature of man to seek answers, ask questions, pursue dreams..? Thank you for the cogent comments, of which I am in total agreement...Larry


~JR 6 years ago

We often look at Hades, the place, through the modern thought of hell rather than simply a place for the dead. If you think that Sisyphus was in a place of torment than a desparate, doomed, frustrated is the Sisyphus we must accept. However, in Greek mythos, hades was simply the place where all the dead resided. Sisyphus was simply given something for which to toil over, possibly even just to keep him busy, so Hades did not have to worry about this crafty king. More likely it was to teach humility and to show that all men need deity and respect its laws. Greek gods, after all, survived on worship and adoration. Sisyphus gave pretence that he was above the need for the gods, thereby incurring Hades' annoyance.


maven101 profile image

maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

JR...Indeed, Sisyphus has declared his independence and has forsaken the need of gods...He is his own man, with a bullet-proofed heart that is " invincible ", where nothing and no-one can change, impair, or remove...He has found peace, and, more important, he has found his destiny...

Thank you for these interesting comments...Larry


Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 6 years ago

lol I always read Sisyphus as one who ended up in his predicament for defying those who will always have their way. A foolish gesture, when in truth, compliance and cooperation in such matters often yields a greater challenge and happiness.


Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 6 years ago

Lies, deceit and murder which were his want and tendency also seldom reap lasting reward. I would never have thought a miscreant like Sisyphus would have struck your fancy.


maven101 profile image

maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

jaggedfrost...

Asserting ones refusal to be enslaved, to be required to conform to an orthodoxy, to bow to any social demand that denies your moral compass, is a foolish gesture..? Tell that to the millions that died refusing to submit to Communism, that fled that horror of Man's invention to live in freedom in the West...No, not a foolish gesture, a heroic struggle against the tyranny of man...Sisyphus refused to accept the fate demanded by the gods...he spits in their face by creating his own reality, a reality that provides an invincible heart that refuses to comply and cooperate as you suggest he should do...He achieves his own happiness, not a passive happiness gained from bowing down to the gods and accepting their punishment...

I have wholeheartedly accepted Sisyphus as my hero for a number of reasons, most of which I have explained in my earlier comments on this Hub...Regardless of his past, Sisyphus has transcended mere mortal chains and produced an invincible strength that cannot be touched by men or gods...he is his own man, beholden to no one except his own self-imposed destiny...He has found freedom in his heart...he looks forward to the challenge with fresh eyes every time that rock rolls back down...he is happy, and in that he cannot be touched by those that would force pain and fear upon him...Larry


Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 6 years ago

Yes, foolish. for the whole reason he was there was because his actions in this life led him to believe that he was might or crafty enough to defy the Gods. His life wasn't ended by old age but by an execution order from Zues or God, however you care to call it. Those who died for heroics, peace making, peace keeping, and other such good works don't spend their lives hereafter that way. Those who die to maintain the freedoms of others and not to glut themselves on the weakness of others die happy and it must follow that they live hereafter in a state of happiness or God would have to step down off his throne because of an injustice done. Death isn't an enslavement. Even his initial sentence wasn't to the bolder but to death only. He was a coward, unwilling to face himself without his power as king to make him feel better about his horrid state. Cunning yes but nothing more.


Doug Turner Jr. 6 years ago

This hub is a great example of the power of poetry. You write a three or four line poem, then it gets discussed endlessly. So interesting.


maven101 profile image

maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Jaggedfrost...Thank you for the continuing comments, but I remain steadfast in my assertion that Sisyphus is happy and content, and in that respect, wholly invincible in his heart...I'm reminded of a saying " It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees "...Larry


maven101 profile image

maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Morning Doug...Thank you for the cogent comment...Poetry is endlessly fascinating to me...I find reading between the lines actually provides inspiration for my own poetry... Finding subtle inferences and unexpected nuance in a poem is like finding hidden jewels that pulse with color and light...I also found that reading poetry, especially haiku, out loud lets the ear participate in the creative wave...Thanks for stopping by...Larry


Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 6 years ago

I am sorry to hear that.


maven101 profile image

maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Jaggedfrost...Thank you for your comment, but I'm not sure what you mean... Are you sorry that I refuse to accept tyranny in any form..? That I would be willing to die my own man than to submit to orthodoxy..? That I refuse to bend or conform to any cultural dictate..? Or are you just sorry that I subscribe to individual ideals, but not communal..? Please explain your comment...Larry


Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 5 years ago

Perhaps dear friend

without offending

I have curiosity

to embrace one tyrant

in defiance of another

the first too dead, mythic, or stymied in torture

to be frightened of

the second tyrant ever present

yet rejecting Zeus and God being different

I find myself feeling odd

defending a myth

but odd or not I persist in my curiosity

for lack of orthodoxy all things being relative

considering heaven a tyrant?

what you embrace is relative to me

a friend holding a thought in his pocket

comforting himself with private consideration

that a tortured tyrant is better then a God.


maven101 profile image

maven101 5 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Jaggedfrost...Thank you for your thoughtful comment, although I am puzzled by your perception that I have somehow " embraced " a mythical tyrant over God...My " embrace " is simply the philosophical message that Sisyphus presents us with, a message of an enduring human trait to not submit to fate, but rather to confront and overcome that fate...Sisyphus is my philosophical hero, he has found an invincible strength in his heart that will not bend to any demand thrust upon him by another agency...He is saying that his heart, and thus his soul, are untouchable, fate notwithstanding.

Carpe diem, my friend...Larry


Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 5 years ago

but perhaps, as others have, within the same philosophical and mythical time frame, managed to obtain immortality without suffering, proving some trait that would place him in the stars rather then forever frustrated by a stone.


maven101 profile image

maven101 5 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

But you must understand; he is not suffering !! He is full of joy and looks forward to shoving that rock back up that hill...He has conquered the fates, he is his own man...

No mere acceptance of the punishment the gods have condemned him to suffer...no, he spits in their eye, laughs, and with a happy heart embraces the rock like a lover, it is his whole world, and from that world he derives infinite pleasure...Larry


Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 5 years ago

lol wow, what a world he has, I think I will vacation there and cheer him on. I just hope he doesn't squish me for my effort.


maven101 profile image

maven101 5 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Jaggedfrost...He would most assuredly welcome your company...maybe he could even find a small pebble that you could push up an ant hill...at least it would be a start...you might even learn to love it...Thanks for dropping back by with your wry comments...Take care, my friend...Larry


Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 5 years ago

Nah, not enough women there. I imagine he feels so too, embracing that stone like a lover has probably become cold comfort in comparison.


maven101 profile image

maven101 5 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

No question that Sisyphus had an active libido, after all that was the genesis of his punishment; he raped one of the god's daughters...now, without that distraction, he can fully focus on his success at defeating the fates and bending them to his invincible will...Larry


Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 5 years ago

lol You use "had" in the past tense, and that is where it will ever stay. His current preoccupation proves that there are worst punishments then death.


maven101 profile image

maven101 5 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

" Had " IS the past tense, what other tense can it be..? And since when is death a punishment..?

There are other realms of happiness that do not have a testosterone-fueled component...Sisyphus has found his happiness in his defiance of the gods...his struggle is heroic and eternal, and one that he accepts with joy...Larry


Jaggedfrost profile image

Jaggedfrost 5 years ago

lol you assume that death is more then just a portal between worlds that grants us what we wanted in life all along. Outside of the Greek mythical context, you may be right, Sisyphus has been struggling against the will of the gods all his life. To be given a much safer venue to do so in must be a relief we would hope. The fact that there is a lot more to life after this then that and with a knowledge that he is probably trying hard not to think about that as he moves his stone all alone I would say he could be content. He also would be lying to himself.


maven101 profile image

maven101 5 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

His mind has moved to a place that is oblivious to human conventions and human passions...He is an invincible state that cannot be approached by man or gods...He must be saying, This heart I can feel, therefore I know that I exist, this rock I can feel, therefore I know that it, too, exists, there ends all my knowledge, the rest is mere construction...

It is this absurdity that frees him to concentrate on his freedom and his refusal to hope...No, he has no need to lie to himself...His only awareness is the world he has chosen to pursue, the world he has created for himself, not the will of the gods or men...Larry


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 4 months ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

This reminded me of the song 'The Rock' by Harry Chapin.

I wonder if he had Sisyphus in mind when he wrote the song?


maven101 profile image

maven101 4 months ago from Northern Arizona Author

I had much the same thoughts while watching a great film, "Unbroken"...

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working