My poem, “Athena’s Vase,” is an ekphrastic poem in response to a Great Panathenaic amphora at the museum. These amphorae were filled with olive oil and given to the winners of the Panathenaic Games (a precursor to the Olympics) every four years. My goal for this poem was to focus on the great historical context in which the object existed rather than focusing on the beauty of the physical object itself. While the physical object itself is intriguing, it is the historical context that brings this object to life.
Come the eighth day of the contest,
Athens had tried their hardest.
The citizens are tired,
but celebration they desire.
To the winners belong the spoils,
a vase of sacred oils.
The Panathenaic amphora,
within the great agora.
The most remarkable musician,
destroyed the competition.
Rejoicing in the summer,
the swiftest of the runners.
In the sea of amphoras,
each a shining aura.
The eighth day ended in speculation,
who will win the next competition?