Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Two Temples

I. Hölderlin in Sounio

The Ionian coves – lit from underneath –
They no longer let the rock speak.
But the grass on the hill has something to say
About the Gods once dead and buried.

The rock partridge coos as she flows uphill
And Poseidon whispers in blue some variant of peace,
For there is still piety here on this rock, a minor
Architectural marvel turned into a thing of epic honor:

                        “Place me on Sunium’s marbled steep
                         Where nothing save the waves
                         There swan-like let me sing and die.”

Only locals and Germans come any more to this
Shore to savor ruin, and remember in photo memorials
This fort of war. The grieving Greeks don’t seem to
Grieve, they move through what is with ease

And recognize something in the care of the immortals
If not the same ones who died. Still, what has fled
Has yet to be replaced. There’s only the sun,
Our instrument, everything else is gone.

II. The Goddess of the Invisible

Amid the sacred forms she said
“There is only the invisible,” or seemed to,
In the move of the pistachio leaves.

Meaning whirrs where no claims can be made,
As Aphaia escaped from Minos by disappearing;
She’s the one who remains, still beckoning at what’s holy:

The rasping grass, the shine on seeds, the changing
Patterns in the fields. Speechless teaching
Free to be perceived or not, but the mind

That expands the universe does not disturb
The eyes or ears of those who trap meaning for a prize.
“Everything serves the invisible,”

She said, without further elucidation,
Because none was needed. I just thought
A moment earlier there was.

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