Elegy To A God

Shall I tell you what I remember of the ancient godling,
when he was wooing me and I was drunk with eager love?
How he gazed at me with whole-eyed looks,
between guileless birch and from everlasting domes!
Where light washed around us yellow and green,
he appeared to me, a lonely girl who lifted her eyes up
and cast her her heart amazed to expand in a firmament
feathered with gale-souled treetops
seeming not too vast for its blessed visitor.

His mistake was coming to me as a god.
Oh, if he had come as a man, I might have loved him always.
But I killed him, in duty, calling myself idolater,
with many self-inflicted lashes, and buried him
before he was quite dead, to have it done quicker.
And in my heart every day he has been bleeding slowly away
till now, just today, he breathed his last.
“What have you done?” he whispered, just before.
“It was not I that masqued me as a god, but you!
Why, I have seen the real God face to face –
it is not the mistake I would have made.
Only you could have been so wrong,
and slaughtered your ancient love for your error!
How do you propose now to live, foolish woman?
Did you think I was in you only to help you write poetry
and rob you of your flesh when a young man forgot you?
How do you think you will wash dishes without me?
How will you tell stories, teach your son to dance,
laugh at a stubbed toe, drive miles to see an old friend?
How will you bear the drudgery, how will you love
your own body? How will you pray, silly old crone?”
Then he expired. If only he had spoken sooner.
But I have bad luck, and my timing is always poor.

Along with Eros has died the old unbending zeal
that would have answered him: “It is written,
Thou shalt have no other gods.”
Instead I shake my head in weariness and bite an apple,
for the nutrition, not the taste or juice or crunch.

1 Comment »

  1. I can’t tell you how beautiful, how hauntingly beautiful, and ancient, deeper than the roots of ageless trees, this poem is. Bravo! is too heavy, it might crush the delicate truth you have unveiled here. And axia! too falls loudly. I wish I could praise in kind, but my heart is too empty, too poor. Grace like a rare unmixed wine, and only once to be tasted, delights hardly as fair as this. Thank you, sister.


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