2016 09 29
Chasing swift hart that dodges through oak grove,
Orion leaps from jagged cliff and hurls
sharp spear at bounding stag to stab its heart,
but stumbles when he lands in sloshing muck,
both feet slurped down to his knees in thick slime.
Heart beating in sudden terror, he grasps
at thin vine that trails from tall tree and heaves
to haul himself from stinking mud, but sinks
deeper, sucked down as he struggles in vain
to escape hungry earth, gasping for breath,
when vine snaps and leaves him stranded in shock.
Struggling for hours to escape sucking slime,
Orion watches sun, glowing on trees
with gold fire of beautiful life, sink down
from noon to disappear behind far hills
in blazing flames of terrified despair
as he feels muck suck him down to his waist.
Gasping for breath in lightless freezing gloom,
Orion howls for help, calling out loud
names of his brothers and his playful sons,
screaming into infinite gloom for help,
but no voice answers under shining stars
as he sinks deeper in fear to his chest.
Screaming and wailing as he stretches arms
toward clear blue sky where bright clouds billow white,
Orion shivers and flails in wild rage
then slumps over and sobs as hunger gnaws
at empty belly that sinks in cold muck.
"Sweet Artemas, my warm and loving bride,
I see your face gazing down from bright moon,
and I remember when I first saw you,
while I hunted bright forest of desire,
and saw you standing in slow sparkling creek,
long hair flowing around your breasts like rays
of morning sun that glowed in your gray eyes,
but I shall never embrace you again,
for I am lost in dark mud of despair."
Staring silent at swirling sky of light
and darkness, Orion watches bright moon
and burning sun flash across arching sky,
then whispers as he sinks under cold slime,
"I think this world is a round stone that rolls
swift around enormous eye of hot flame."
Thirteen years later, three young boys appear
on edge of jagged cliff, while hunting boar,
and Helios grips arms of his brothers tight,
then points to helmet their father wore.
"Our father left one morning years ago
when I was six and you were both still babies,
wearing that helmet as he ran to hunt,
but never returned, and our mother wept
as she stood night and day at cottage door,
looking for his face to appear in light,
and calling his name on long lonely nights,
but she died from broken heart for his love,
since he vanished forever without trace,
yet now I see his helmet perched on stone."
Leaning over edge of foul mucky pool,
while his brothers hold rope bound round his waist,
Helios reaches long stick with trembling arm
to hook rusting helmet and lift it high.
Kneeling on rock, three boys weep as they gaze
at face of their father that stares from muck,
skin rotten and both eyes plucked out by crows,
and mouth open in rigid silent scream
as worms slither from sockets of his skull.
Tears flowing from their eyes sparkle on flower
that twitches without care in humming wind.