DECLINED INVITATION

Posted by Admin on Thursday, 18th May 2006, 00:00

“Elope with me,” you said, “and sail
Hellenic seas, and from their deeps
explore where scattered islands rise –
their terraced barren steeps relieved
by red anemones abloom,
the myrtle Phaedra, waiting, pierced,
and ghost-pale asphodel –
there dream of triremes, multi-oared,
that clove the wind-whisked blue
the young Thucydides then rode.”

“Elope with me,” you said, “and let
us live where Pindar sang, and walk
where Aeschylus deployed his art –
with strophe and antistrophe
evoked the Tragic Muse –
or on some ruined stage recall
how bawdy Aristophanes
with comic satire twisted tails.”

“Elope with me,” you said, “and hand
in hand, in Delphic silence let
us pause – pretend to hear the fate
that we, ourselves, ordain.
Come leave with me and be my love.”
In jest you paraphrased the line
Kit Marlowe wrote; but I, a man
of words not deeds, a man content
to live reality at one remove,
declined.

A card from Athens later showed
the Parthenon’s sweet symmetry
beneath an Attic sky, and told
of lives the newly reconciled –
your husband drinking ouzo while
you wrote.
The gods upon Parnassus’ height,
like me, no doubt were much amused.

T. C. Hudson

© T. C. Hudson.
This work may not be reproduced without prior permission of the author.

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