He Never Did Me Wrong
Medusa’s my name, and though
great is my fame
My story’s untold and unknown
I’m the target of hate for the one little trait
That I tend to turn men into stone.
Well, I looked in the mirror one bright summer day -
And should that fact cause you to grin,
It’s simply not true what the myth-makers say
That I’m five times as ugly as sin.
All the stories in books of my hideous looks
That no one could bear to espy
Are convenient lies, as expounded by guys
Who couldn’t look me in the eye.
In the mirror I peered, but saw nothing so weird
As to give any fellow a scare;
Just the fact I have brains, I don’t languish in chains,
And I’m told I have threatening hair.
In the mirror I spied, through the fields running wide,
The fairest of men on the planet.
But I knew if I spoke, the unfortunate bloke
Would be halfway ‘twixt marble and granite!
So I took out the Sphinx for a couple of drinks,
Atalanta I called on the phone,
And my sisters I asked, “Should I walk around masked?
Must I always turn men into stone?”
By fate or by chance did the fellow advance;
He was witty and bright and well-read
But it soon became plain that he hadn’t my brain
And, in consequence, wanted my head
He declared (and - what grace - never looked in my face)
“I am Perseus, here is my tale:
My soon-to-be-bride to a boulder is tied
And about to be munched by a whale
But the whale’s blood I’ll shed, and I’ll turn the sea red
(Let the Save-the-Whales people be damned)
We’ll be married in June; thanks to me, my harpoon,
And my trade of your head for her hand.”
I was shocked - not at him, but the prospect so grim
Of Andromeda chained in the ocean
And believing her stay an appropriate way
Of showing her love and devotion.
It’s a nightmare come true if the one way to woo
Without making the man feel afraid
Is to blithely go down, to be eaten or drown,
And hope that he’ll come to your aid!
I wish I’d expressed this and more to my guest
For I’d every intention to brawl
But my thoughts were congealed as I stared in his shield....
And that’s truly the last I recall.
© Adi Sara Kreindler, 2002
from the musical Charity
Listen to this song on YouTube.