the mother of wild beasts,
with all her springs, with
timbered ridges, full of
leaf-crowned oaks, and above
fresh green grass, crocus and hyacinth, clover soaked with dew, with her peak, Gargaron, where the
god of greatness, god of glory let’s loose his
his throne on the mountaintop.
Join him there and see
a world away to the land of Thracian horsemen or beyond, to
the summit of timbered Samos, where Poseidon stares back at
the entire Ida ridge … the city of Priam clear and the warships of Achaea.
All those rivers still
flow from the crests of Ida down to breaking surf, the Rhesus and the Heptaporus, Caresus and the Rhodius, Grenicus and Aesepus … and Simois’ tides. And most of all
the shining god Scamander, the
fair-flowing silver-eddying river, attended by
elms … willows and tamarisks … and the lotus … and the galingale … reeds and rushes. You see
eels in there. She’s turbulent so the gods called her Xanthus, yellow. Her banks are
high - once
men cowered below those overhangs,
sprawled in … (all that) sand. Once to please her,
rearing stallions (were) drowned alive in its eddies.
The plains of Troy where the two rivers flow, where Simois and Scamander rush together. Still
wheat fields. The clay, rich,
large clods. The Hellespont, still
strong flowing and
broad, still swarming
with fish. Stand at her entrance. See what faced Achilles -
the endless miles to home, in between
shadowy mountain ranges, seas that surge and thunder.
huge flocks on flocks of winging birds, geese or cranes or swans with their long lancing necks - circling …, wheeling in all directions, glorying in their wings- keep on landing, advancing, wave on shrieking wave and the tidal flats resound. They
flee from winter’s grim ungodly storms,
shrieking south. Still those
swarms of flies seething over the shepherd’s stalls in the first spring days when the buckets flood with milk. You see the black eagle, the
wind-swift messanger of Zeus.
When the air falls to a sudden, windless calm,
the stars in the night-sky glitter(ing) round the moon’s brilliance blaze in all their glory … all the lookout peaks stand out and the jutting cliffs and the steep ravines and down from the high heavens bursts the boundless bright air and all the stars shine clear and the shepherd’s heart exults.
Do you want to steer an
oar-swept ship across the wine-dark sea?
Still Homer’s land except … where is the
mighty city and
the race of men who seemed half god, half mortal?