Fairy-tales & Legends

from Gilgamesh: Tablet 11


Gilgamesh spoke and said to the old man then:
"When I looked at you I thought that you were not

a man, one made like me; I had resolved
to challenge you as one might challenge a demon,

a stranger-adversary. But now I see
that you are Utnapishtim, made like me,

a man, the one I sought, the one from whom
I might find out how death can be avoided.

Tell me then, father, how it came about
that you were admitted to the company

Canto III

I sat on the Dogana’ s steps
For the gondolas cost too much, that year,
And there were not “those girls”, there was one face,
And the Buccentoro twenty yards off, howling, “Stretti”,
And the lit cross-beams, that year, in the Morosini,
And peacocks in Koré’ s house, or there may have been.
Gods float in the azure air,
Bright gods and Tuscan, back before dew was shed.
Light: and the first light, before ever dew was fallen.
Panisks, and from the oak, dryas,
And from the apple, mælid,

Ultima Thule: Dedication to G. W. G.

With favoring winds, o'er sunlit seas,
We sailed for the Hesperides,
The land where golden apples grow;
But that, ah! that was long ago.

How far, since then, the ocean streams
Have swept us from that land of dreams,
That land of fiction and of truth,
The lost Atlantis of our youth!

Whither, ah, whither? Are not these
The tempest-haunted Orcades,
Where sea-gulls scream, and breakers roar,
And wreck and sea-weed line the shore?

The Fox Bead in May

The kiss is, strictly speaking, a passing
of of   twice: a bead from her mouth to his,
then back, ad nauseam, and the boys who lived
and died for it. The lovely girl amassing

ninety-nine spirits, and in high spirits
for consuming her highest amount. Once
the hundredth boy arrived she starts her hunt
in her haunt, a hill’ s field filled with fitting

Artemisia absinthium.
And every day they kissed to swap the bead
and for a month he waned and wans


The Emperor thought of his heart as a water wheel
flooding the rice fields of all creation
and bloodied the water for a better harvest.
His warriors hoped for a life with wings.
His swallowtails wrote him the same lines
— the secret of life is a resurrected worm —
He told them eventually time would run backwards
in their hands, now empty where a crossbow went.

Harmless, Recalled as a Fairy Tale

After our rendez-vous — this the last word he said,
Waving to me as the train pulled away from the station.
And so it seemed: harmless. Till evening brought
The first prick of fever, which soon trellised my veins;
At 2 AM came that knock on the city gates,
Little pig, little pig, let me come in....
Ha! ever a bold and warlike people, we didn’ t.