The Rivers of Hades
by James Green

All souls must cross the River Acheron.
There’s no escape: The water dark and deep.
Though first they pay Charon, the ferryman.

To River Lethe’s sweet oblivion
some will sojourn to sip the drink of sleep
once they have crossed the River Acheron.

And at the River Cocytus Charon
will leave the ones who must forever weep.
They too first pay Charon, the ferryman.

Then on to River Styx he ferries some
whose souls with hardened hearts in ice it keeps.
All souls must cross the River Acheron.

And last of all is River Phlegethon
where fire enflames the souls the gods have reaped
once they have paid Charon, the ferryman.

Have fare enough to pay when meeting him.
The river is too wide for you to leap.
All souls must cross the River Acheron,
though first they pay the ferryman.

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