‘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.
‘From the swelling seas, un-silent,
Rising from the salt, through ether,
Neptune holds aloft his trident,
Cries: “The Spring has come; be patient!
As the centre of his offspring
Glows – outraged to so be lectured –
So much wisdom of the ages
Flows from father-ocean’s lectern:
‘“Take some good advice, Orion:
Watch and learn the way of heaven;
Time just moves around in circles,
From the fish becomes a turtle.”
“Onward then in time, a deluge
Caused a boar to swim the ocean;
Then the lion, Narasimha
Came before the dwarf Vamana.
“Then to life a noble hero
Sprang and rid the world of tyrants.
This made way for Rama’s charm,
Which came before the Bhagavad Gita.
“In this way the prince of paupers
Broke the wheel of earthly suffering;
Maybe, son, you’ll hear him teaching
In the realm of endless loving…”
‘“Thanks for nothing! Shouts Orion,
Show to me my loving mother.
She, at least, would save her scion.”
No; alas: She’s with his brother.’
‘Peering through the velvet darkness,
Seeks the Starman souls like-minded.
Souls who cry for freedom – ‘partners’ –
Ones to rend his endless bindings.
‘Near, yet far, he spies another
In the spiral trap of Hera,
Milky star-way, whereupon is
Resting Perseus. Calls Orion:
‘”I have a plan to rout Olympus,
Woo the nymphs and plunder treasure,
Somehow try to storm Zakynthos,
Free the slaves and take my measure.”
‘“Maybe you – and then your brother –
Have some cause to join up forces?
Unified, we’d hold the weather,
This would bring immortals chaos?”
‘Half a sound is made by Perseus –
Just a calm, sub-sonic murmur –
Tone of one who’s done his duty:
‘Starman, you’re a cosmic learner’.
‘Peace is what we need in heaven –
This is all the wise are teaching –
Why not heed the words the water
Gave; why raise the fires against it?
Still the starman shuns his prison,
Rues the day his will was rendered
Helpless, though the sun has risen.
Never shall his soul surrender.
‘Now a voice so fair, ascending,
Fills the air with love unending,
Rises on the silver moonbeams
Woven from Apollo’s sun streams.
‘”Bold Orion, Starman leaping,
How my heart for you is beating.
I have set you there so thy fame
Lights the path of this, the sky-train!”
‘Next she calls with gentle words
The creatures of her wooded world,
Speaks to them with tender charm
To keep the slightest safe from harm.
‘“Sweet you are as honey, bee.
Bear and Stag, come follow me.
Jump with me across the river.”
Seeks she souls with bow and quiver.
‘Then the Goddess steps up on it –
Disc of night, the lamp of dreamers –
As the steeds with hooves of onyx
Take to flight with sweet Selene.
‘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.’