‘Starman, brave, the hale Orion,
Laughs out loud: “These boys you fancy,
Golden king, are two-faced stunners!”
Now the hunter’s voice is angry.
‘“Why, pray tell, does noble Hera
Love the clawing, crabby creature?
Why, great Zeus, defend the Lion,
That which tortured all Nemea?
‘“Save me from that curse, Demeter,
Clamp the stinging beast of Ares,
Pluto halt the poisoned creeper.
Show me justice, I should meet her!
‘“By Olympus, I’m surrounded –
Gods, your beasts should all be grounded –
Yet I see my dogs are pining,
Faithful hounds are there compounded.”
‘Hearing truth, the god’s conceding
Forge three glyphs to raise the dog-star
High above. The bane of Thebans
Forms a flame to rival Ishtar.
“Centaur wise, the dearest Chiron,
Help me while away some hours,
Make of wine a crimson fountain,
Thus reclaim the heroes’ mountain.
“Have a drink on me,” says Chiron
“Trouble not your self with worry.
Stand I guard; the heart of darkness
Sits behind me, far beyond thee.
“Child of Earth and Starry Heaven –
Lake of Memory; shun the cypress!”
From the stream that’s clear as crystal
Drinks Orion, knows he’s timeless.
‘“If I’m made to stand here waiting –
Forced by ties which bind, eternal -”
Hale Orion roars in fury,
“My revenge shall wax infernal!
‘”Long for I the Winter solstice,
When the Sea Goat meets the Sun King.
On that day the horn of plenty
Brims. How long will this event be?
‘“Might of oceans, old Poseidon,
Let the fishes swim beside me?
Lest you grant this one diversion,
I shall die of boredom, nightly.
“Tell me this, as well, oh wise one,
When does Hades mete out mercy,
When young Eros drinks the ocean,
Aphrodite reaches thirty?
‘”Hestia’s hearth is icy cold,
Or Hermes sighs and says, ‘I’m old;’
Hera gives her heart to Echo,
Atlas cries and lets the Earth go?”
‘Whilst Orion scans his life-line,
Golden God, Apollo, drones on,
Lecturing him to love the fortune
Which has favoured him, the brave one:
‘”Know thyself, you are not alone:
Standing beside Lord Zeus’s throne,
Leans the youth whose cup is flowing
O’er the Earth, and he’s not going!
‘”Lips more sweet than finest mead
Has the fair lad, Ganymede.
This victorious prince of Troy
Is now the God’s beloved boy!
‘”Weep as well for fair Callisto.
See the nymph in Ursa Major,
Maid of my beloved Sister?
Zeus’s fatal lust destroyed her.
‘“Stubborn Starman show some pity
For the nymphs and others like them,
Girls I’ve chased for countless decades;
Pity those who grieve for Hyas.
‘“Then be glad the dreaded Hyrdra
Lies beneath thy feet, not higher,
Praise the Lords you’re not poor Chiron,
Poisoned centaur, noble Titan!
‘”Look around thee in the Heaven –
Canine friend and sisters, seven
Comfort thee from loneliness –
Now count the stars, for thou art blessed!”
‘‘Vainest God!’ thinks hale Orion
I’ve a mind to rouse my lion,
Give the great beast reincarnation
End for good this indignation!
‘‘Powers come to raise Osiris:
Make me from the horns of Taurus
Such a crown. I’ll call on Isis,
Set on Greece the ire of Horus.’
Apollo, lord of the wide quiver fair
And far-sped arrows, found her on a day
Wrestling unarmed against a lion bold,
And cried to Chiron: “Son of Philyra,
Come from thy sacred cavern and behold
What woman’s soul can dare!
This calm-browed girl essays a wondrous fight,
Her heart no toil can weaken, and her mind
No fear subdue. Born of what mortal kind
Is she, and stolen from what tribe of might,
Who haunts these glades of shadowy mountains wild?
Illimitable strength her actions prove….
Pindar, Ninth Pythian Ode, Apollo sets eyes on Cyrene