Nov 202011
 

High above the clouds, in a dimension where the sun would shine even at midnight, Zeus brought to mind the Eagles of the East and West, lords of land and sea.

Holding them in sight, he gave to them their mission, saying: “Fly now each of you in his own direction; neither is swifter than the other. The place where you meet I shall pin down forever as the centre of this world”.

The gods had come down from their clouds and assembled at this place, to mark forever the foundation of their temple on Earth. Zeus’s fair twins Apollo and Artemis, sun and moon, came down to where they had been summoned, swiftly followed by the others, each in elemental guise.

Bearing fruits of the earth and dressed in garlands of flowers, the earth mother Demeter walked hand‐in‐hand with her love‐struck daughter, queen of the Styx‐bound underworld.

Ares, Hestia and Hera, Hephestaeus, Poseidon and Athena ‐ each transpiring from their own dominion – fulfilled the summons from their central being.

A bull emerged from the forest, metamorphosising with a swagger into a shining youth, handsome as only a handsome youth can be. He walked hand in hand with the loveliest female in the land, raising to his moistened lips an earthen jar of ruby‐coloured wine.

Her love‐child laughed with his magician.

Hera gazed broodingly at the twice‐born son of his father and a cloud descended on the assembly. “I hope you will not reserve too many honours for this youth, Dionysus, husband, for he is only quite immortal, with half true blood in his blue, engorged veins”.

Zeus roared with laughter and raised a glass in toast to his progeny. “But see the ones who are with him, sister; you must admit he is in great company: The body of desire with the power of love and the herald of all ages. I see no issue here but that which is great!”

“But come forth now Apollo and shine on me son, step beyond the clouds, for I would have you build me here a house, where men from all corners of the world will
come to learn their destiny”

Apr 232011
 

“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?”

Apr 232011
 

‘Then there is a moment’s mourning –
Plus a second more for staring –
Tears are shed but others, yawning,
Tell the world they’re done with caring.

‘Lord Apollo grasps Athena
Whispering: “He’s a fool this fellow;
Since he’s freed the Greeks of Cretans
So shall rise beloved Athens!

‘“Praise the day we let the ‘Gyptian
Take free reign of this, the Cosmos.”
Then the Sun-God, Fair Apollo,
Overheard the thoughts which followed:

‘‘I could devastate Olympus,
Cause beneath a mighty tremor,
Make the things of Earth grow frantic,
Stir up all the great Atlantic.

‘‘Thus, the lovely Aphrodite,
I should banish her to Venus.
Then, for Ares – he who’s caused this –
Mars is just the place to bind him.’

‘‘Hera fits the great, bright walkway,
Hades, we’ll consign to Pluto.
Yet the father, Old Poseidon,
Let him run his steeds on Neptune.

Oct 022010
 

When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy –
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn’t anything else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn’t deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you’ll have understood what these Ithakas mean.

Ithaka, Constantine P Cavafy

Mar 152010
 

Sodwana

Sodwana Bay, South Africa

The twice-born child threw back his head and laughed, his eyes just dancing as he took another draught. He turned to his deadly mistress and handed her the urn, at once feeling nothing but deepest desire.

“Wet your lovely lips and hark at this.”

She raised the earthen urn to her sweet, pink mouth and a murmur of surrender left her lover. “Oh fair-breasted Queen of my most erotic dreams. He may become a poet, my proud brother, but sure as day is night he is no lover.“

She took a second sip as he kissed her milk-white throat. Her voice was mocking, as ever. “Poor Dionysus, has your wine gone bitter! Who better than Apollo, voice of all reason, to relay the will of God to man?”

“Oh – daughter of the white-flecked foam – would you really prefer that braggart’s endless rationing to immortal death from too much loving?” His mouth fell down upon her breast, warm and soft as velvet beneath the silky, see-through dress.

Her eyes glazed over with lust. “You play to your strengths, I’ll grant you that; but what if death holds no temptation, even if the manner of dying might so much?”

“Pearl of Poseidon’s sea, how cruel that you pretend not to see. Do not all fair females of the universe have an inner understanding of my mystery?”

“You are a sly, uncontrollable creature and half of my self is now enthralled as I await your meaning! Come now, whisper your sweet nothings in my shell-like ear!”

“Nothing that is definable in words except – perhaps – immortal or invincible. Now show me that your body has a heart.”

“And why would I have a heart, foolish being, when such a thing was made to just be broken! Beware, now. My age-old son – the wholly unconquered warrior – stands poised right above you with his deadly, love-tipped arrow. One more stolen kiss and you, Dionysus, shall be blighted for your eternal life by the lust of Aphrodite, abandoned to the web of Ariadne by this fatal charm.

He took from her the urn and drained it to a drop. “If there is a thorn on this rose, then smite me with it now, your highness, so I can bleed and watch you leave.”