- Vol. 06
- Chapter 12
After Logue, After Carson, After Auden, After likely some Housman I’m forgetting, After Keats by Way of Chapman, By Way Of Pope Lattimore Fagles Etc Etc Etc forever&ever… After Homer
God it’s always the same:
The same axolotl Scamander
Salamander growing its white river legs
back in the rain.
The same big spreading oak in the
Middle of the plain, Schliemann, oh anathemas,
Schliemann! The death mask which may or may
Not have rested on Agamemnon’s
Unexpectedly dainty face.
Ships viz black prowed, pitched pine
All those names, and the Shield,
Enumerated endless assemblage
A leg, an arm, a fan, garters;
The artful patterns of the
Especially to describable metalwork.
I’m not going to talk about the Shield.
I’m not, but instead,
The steaming cauldrons tripods of
Goulash, calabash stews of autumn,
After Logue, After Carson, After Auden, After likely some Housman I’m forgetting, After Keats by Way of Chapman, By Way Of Pope Lattimore Fagles Etc Etc Etc forever&ever… After HomerThe altars thick with clotted
Honey, the marrow sucked hot
From cracked burnt bones,
Relish, candour, tallow, fear,
The wind whipped blankets hunched
Old men or Parcae or both really.
In the background, slide-door blurry
Briseis bathes against a tree.
She has learned to be good at avoiding notice,
Her skin, milky and unpocked,
Will grace a minor collegiate museum.
Bedevilled American undergraduates,
Will render her unevenly in charcoal.
But for now she stands, dipping her wet
Cloth in the warm water, in the rubbing oil,
Blurry, in the crisp camp air—
For what man fights in winter?
For who can be well-greaved and heavy
Trudging back banks of snow?
In the background, she stays there
Every so often three or four lines,
Every so often pausing, contrapposto