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the first riddle

the Sphinx, bringer of bad luck and destruction,
half-woman and a lioness,
she asks of Oedipus a riddle outside of Thebes
strangled with a curse:
what goes on fours in the morning, two at midday
and three in the evening?

Oedpius, born a prince, feet-mangled
and soon to be a king, well-traveled and bored
and wishing for greater challenges than a riddling sphinx
in his way, answers:
look at me in my prime, I walk on two
and I crawled on fours
and I shall walk with a staff soon enough…
that is the lot of my kind, humankind…

and the Sphinx,
not one to condone one better than itself,
devours itself…