Hercules and Antaeus

As predicted in the very first poem of the collection Hercules has invaded Antaeus’ space; they meet in single combat: superman versus child of earth, brain versus brawn. Antaeus’s fate will be the repeated fate of Ireland. Hercules is the golden boy with the god-sponsored future: Sky-born and royal. He comes fresh from Labours fulfilled: snake-choker (the nine-headed hydra); dung heaver (the Augean stables). He is preoccupied (his mind big) with his next challenge: to steal the golden apples of the Hesperides from the north-African Atlas range. Legend has already ordained that Antaeus (Ireland’s ‘champion’ figure) will be no match for him. Hercules, his future hung with trophies, will not lose: Hercules has the measure, already knows how to overcome […]