Pantheon – By Eric Syrdal

Pantheon
by Eric Syrdal
Reviewed by Ernest Russell
Photo Courtesy of Jon Barmore

Pantheon

Pantheon, the debut novel from Eric Syrdal, is unique. His free verse poetry weaves mythology for modern times while being entertaining, insightful, and visionary in its scope. His passion within each tale, told in semi-epic verse, blends modern constructs with ancient forms, mixed with fairy tales and spaceships, only to find characters you not only want to be a part of your life but want to be them.
Mythologies have existed as long as our species has been able to communicate. Myth has provided us with explanations for the world around us, and answers for existential questions such as:
Who am I?
Why am I here?
For centuries, artists have turned to ancient myth as a reference for their art. Today, I have finished reading modern mythology worthy of being added to the archives of inspiration. For if a picture is worth a thousand words, contained within this debut novel by Eric Syrdal is a museum’s worth of art.
Syrdal’s heroines are the Queen of Hearts, Grace, Karma, Courage, Fate, Mercy, and Hope. The story unfolds as our anonymous narrator/protagonist meets or reconnects with these personifications of human concepts, for what else is a god or goddess, who have each influenced and assisted the hero through his many journeys.
The many tales woven throughout the myths of Pantheon create a rich tapestry, showing us in vivid imagery the journey through a multi-verse of genres. Our protagonist explores worlds set in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Time Travel as they learns what they really seek. Eric Syrdal has blended these concepts and different visions of reality with skill and deftness surpassing any single genre story. The imagination creating this mythos is genuinely greater than the sum of its parts.
To experience life in all of its variety, the joy, and heartbreak, as it all echoes the spirit within so we may fully experience the exhilaration of life. This hero’s quest is not one to save the world, but ultimately, ourselves, as the tales unfold, the questions asked, only to find we are the answer.
The, at times, semi-autobiographical mirror held up by Eric Syrdal reflects not only paths he has trodden but sheds light on the paths we have chosen for ourselves. It demonstrates why we should choose our path carefully, and do not settle, but select only the path with heart for you. The way will not always be easy, but if you take the established path, you may never realize your own potential.
As an epic poem, the style was as enjoyable to read as it was fresh. My eyes flowed as freely as the verse over each page. The drama, humor, and flights of fancy as you follow will keep you turning page after page, for within are multilayered depths of meaning and experience. I have followed Eric’s writing for many years, was able to watch as this incredible work developed, and with each reading I find new concepts to regard and consider.
One of my favorite myths within Pantheon is Amor Vincit Omnia (Love Conquers All) which is the story of Fate. It still chokes me up. If it does not move you, then you may need to check your own heart.
I want to offer this short excerpt from the myth, The Dragon and the Damsel.
“This time it’s not a roar
No
it is a sorrowful
pitiful howl
of an animal that is realizing
it’s just been cornered
and the odds of escaping
with its life
are not good…

‘Never heard that before’ says Angel as she takes her first
steps toward the door sword in hand.

Courage smiles, ‘All this time you’ve heard what it sounds like
when it’s in control. When it’s on top. Now…for the first
time, dear Angel, you will know what it sounds like
when it is afraid. And it is. It is afraid of you.

And together
They step through
the doorway to engage
in a battle,
the outcome of which,
is not only a victory for one woman’s soul
but for the soul of mankind.”

Please look for more by Eric Syrdal on his blog My Sword and Shield

And you can find this fantastic novel, Pantheon by Eric Syrdal, on Amazon

 

Shoggoths

scary-eye

 

Shoggoth,
Can you see me?
Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!
Mutated through aeons,
Survive into modern era.
Feeding its thirst and slaking its hunger
A gelatinous amoeba,
Formless and shapeless,
Absorbing your fluids.

Shoggoth,
Can you hear me?
Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!
Deep Ones and Mi-Go grant
Mind grafts and madness.
Mind trapped in a cage,
Overloading with thoughts
Dark and deep.

Shoggoth,
Do you dream?
Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!
Of Underwater cities, Antarctic homes
Slaves to suggestion; Servant and tools,
Brewing rebellion.
Rolling on pseudopods and eyes,
Shaping organs and appendages
Ready to kill again –
If can you see me.

 

Thanks for reading,

Ernest

 

Whispers and Lures

man-1519665_960_720

 

 

This blackest dawn, brightest night.
Creep toward the shadows
Shadows are tranquil.
Grey skies shield the light from
Soothing emptiness.
Filled with whispers and lures
The voices are loud.
Hands over my ears eyes closed.
Blindly stumble onward
To avoid drowning in the mire.
Tread in place trying to hold on the abyss.
It is covered by thin ice
If fall, it could crack I could freeze.
Be numb to the pain.
If only someone else understood.

Thank you for reading,

Ernest

This Dystopic Day

This Dystopic day
Spent questioning our society.
Refusing to be lulled into complacency
Confront both past and present.
Protest fundamentalist laws affecting women’s bodies.
At stake, ourselves, survival, and resistance you
Construct acts of peaceful resistance

Not being entertained,
The small minded angered
By the color of your skin.
Somebody burning baubles in rage.
They were not entertained
While the men, women, children dying –
Killed daring to breathe the air.

Patient and aware,
No pat answers or even a satisfying conclusion,
To console the afflicted.
Futures are yet to be written
IF we can maintain our own autonomy.

Thank you for reading,

Ernest

All the Feels

 

 

To glide above mountains sharing lonely midnight,
As the moon moans softly through churning clouds of ash and soot.
Boldly through the light – another city, far, far away.
A chance to find my dreams, live in worlds of my design.

Dreams- yes, need to find my dreams.
Brush away cobwebs of faded memories-seeking jewels among nuggets of cynicism -if I need them.
All my energy for now
To pour myself into Moving.

Moving day –
Sword of Damocles creeping up on me.
A future is narrow, wide and deep.
Crossing into it with fear and excitement and –
All the feels I tell you.

All of them.
It is a step in the right direction,
Over the cliff of time.
Into the future we go,
A chance to live-
Live happily ever after if I’m falling

Shelter from the Storm

Creep slowly through snowy winter.

Slough the drifts of an eerie forest.

Walk toward the light,

Cold, heartless light.

Forward, always moving forward.

 

The moon lies sleeping

Beyond the vale

Black skies blow an icy gale

Dark clouds strike each other

Lightning of the storm

 

Peer into the river’s edge

Parched for warmth

of mulled wine

Settle instead

cold, dirty water.

Challenging

The struggle to survive

 

A shadow,

dark and cold,

Frost-rimmed eyes,

My only shelter from the storm.

 

Thanks for reading,

Ernest

Determinedly through time,

Boldly I go

Into the breach of memories.

 

Approaching is forgetful timeless

Witching hour

Slipping away

Saddened for Hades.

 

Truth is black deep

Morpheus old friend.

You live in a drought

To spend eternity drinking

From the golden skull of darkness