Deep in the shady sadness of a vale
Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn,
Far from the fiery noon, and eve's one star,
Sat gray-hair'd Saturn, quiet as a stone,
Still as the silence round about his lair;
Forest on forest hung about his head
Like cloud on cloud. No stir of air was there,
Not so much life as on a summer's day
Robs not one light seed from the feather'd grass,
But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest.
A stream went voiceless by, still deadened more
By reason of his fallen divinity
Greek & Roman Mythology
Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
Alone in the library room, even when others
Are there in the room, alone, except for themselves:
There is the illusion of peace; the air in the room
Is stilled; there are reading lights on the tables,
Looking as if they're reading, looking as if
They're studying the text, and understanding,
Shedding light on what the words are saying;
But under their steady imbecile gaze the page
Is blank, patiently waiting not to be blank.
You love your friend, so you fly across the country to see her.
Your friend is grieving. When you look at her, you see that something’ s missing.
You look again. She seems all there: reading glasses, sarcasm, leather pumps.
What did you expect? Ruins? Demeter without arms in the British Museum?
Your friend says she believes there’ s more pain than beauty in the world.
When Persephone was taken, Demeter damned the world for half the year.
The other half remained warm and bountiful; the Greeks loved symmetry.
Schliemann is outside, digging. He’ s not
not calling a spade a spade.
The stadium where the Greeks once played
used to stand on this very spot.
Each night, Penelope, operating
in mythical time, unspools the light
gray orb Schliemann has just unearthed. Come daylight,
her hands will restitch it. The suitors sigh, waiting.
And each night I’ d watch as my hero curled
himself round home plate, as if he were going
to bat for me. And I’ d hold my breath, knowing
a strong enough shot might be heard round the world.
The woman is daft.
Invented her own sect.
Has upside-down sex.
With alternate species.
You see her on the street.
Corner of Sansome and Pine:
Morning rev up of sf financial types.
Instead, there she is, beneath a gigantic hat.
Hair wild, in coils, like a rattle-
Snake. Smiles like she’ s got the shakes.
Every cell in her seems to vibrate.
Psst! Could you turn that to low?
Lucretius grabbed my arm and led me
to the spot where he went nuts. I watered little
drums right away and entangled the Sava River
with knitting needles. I putrefied a small soup,
dismembered seven towels. There, He — The
Terrible — burnt on the stake, squatted, too.
My god, I beat him up his ass. Puff, puff, but
no one had heard a thing. Now here, I’ m flooded
with flowers by cumin. Even Tarkovsky appears.
Now I will suck you with my thumbs, mold
you like clay with my horns, till he’ d vaporize and
Should I take this time, while the children are in school,
to untrim the tree? Standing in the dish we let go dry,
it looks well-preserved, as if Christmas were still
in our future; would it spare their feelings if I dismantle
piece by piece its grandeur, or will I amplify
their sense of loss, to de-jewel it without ritual?