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Pythia After Closing

The Shrine at Nightfall


 The Oracle at Delphi of the god Apollo



A la notte oscura

Per Cristo Gesu


 I leap in the god, igniting with fiery sinews,

Till, writhing for splendor, he releases, and, a cur

Whipped by his Beauty, I slink away, whining,


 Night trails, over Delphi, its starry veil of sleep,

While, though hushed, Phoebus’ shrine rises up in darkness,

Breeze freshens and lamps huddle in canopies of light,


I, Apollo’s mouth, his Rapture’s burning lyre, 

Slump, staring, bewildered, deafened by his Song, 

Torn by the thousand tongues that shouted,


A sea of grief encircles me, so I shudder in the tumult 

Of far seeing, become for him an isle off a broken coast, 

Where pounded rock makes glory of the waves, 


Everything quavers through the curtain of tears,

Yet they wash to no sleep, no sweet forgetfulness, 

For I am hunger for the flashing of Deity,


Does he care, the one so Other, standing in the light 

On far Olympus, want me now, who, spent, 

Am heaped in this hut, a thing thrown away,


 Waiting in dread the morrow, dawn that seizes

My brow, breaks me to the tripod and the sulfur vent,

The shriek and the swift raving cascades of Beauty?


Or am I but his pleasure’s poppet, dandled for an hour, 

Till he untie my senses, strike my reason down, 

So I tug and bark, become some frantic Cerebrus,


And am no longer once lovely Pythia of Delphi?



For Kathryn Scarano

April 3, 1980 – April 25, 1985

Valyermo and Carpinteria