Sunday, August 12, 2012

Philemon and Baucis Renew Their Vows

by C.K. Williams 

                        Philemon:  “O darling I must ask
                                                   why all these tears?”

Baucis:  “O nothing darling, nothing,
             simply the accumulation of so many years.”
P:  It is true
                         we grow gnarled.        The marble
            has fallen into disrepair.   It lays in broken clumps
       and weeds push up in the evening.

B:   “Yes.  Rings expand year by year from our trunks.”
P:  I remember us poor and
                    eating beans and radishes,
                eggs cooked over a small fire in the hovel near the outskirts of town,
                                                                 surviving by bread which
                                             was mostly crust.  Our roof was
                                   made of dry reeds that whistled in
                                          the nightwind fleecing down
                                                                             the Phrygian hills.”

Zeus:   “Raising you two from the privations of the poor,
                       Still you let pass the past through memory’s door!”

B: (to Philemon)  “Our skin is wrinkled
                  Over us so rough.  It is dry
              And rustles like beetle legs.”

                        P:  “We have been here so many years
                   Silent as oak and linden.
                           Many peoples have sat with us
                 In the shade, eating grapes and seedcakes from Crete,
                     Bread dipped in olive oil.”

B:  “We have been weathered by the sea
                         Far distant over hills; the
                Brine comes over the rocks and parches our throats.”

                        P:  “Yes, we are always thirsty, but
                                          Are we not entwined?

B:  “Perhaps.
                       Our limbs so different and flimsy still clasp.
                                                That is not so bad.”

Zeus:  Day after dust, dust after day,
                 The sun shall beat not less.
             Though moisture comes, you’ll be but clay,
                  No more hold hope for best.

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