Can love and Hate occupy the same relationship? Or is a Greek God’s pursuit of a nymph the same lust for power humanity has indulged for millenia?
As though Dapne had a choice. As though Apollo allowed her one.
qui tamen insequitur pennis adiutus Amoris,
ocior est requiemque negat tergoque fugacis
inminet et crinem sparsum cervicibus adflat.
Vaunted wings of love
a nymph brought to her strength’s end
by a lusting God
viribus absumptis expalluit illa citaeque
victa labore fugae spectans Peneidas undas
“fer, pater,” inquit “opem! sī flūmina nūmen habētis,
quā nimium placuī, mūtandō perde figūram!”
Soon to be pierced
a stolen glance to Peneidas
her final, uttered prayer
“Father, part this earth for me
or warp this form from me!”
[quae facit ut laedar mūtandō perde figūram.]
vix prece finitā torpor gravis occupat artūs,
mollia cinguntur tenui praecordia libro,
in frondem crinēs, in ramos bracchia crescunt,
pes modo tam velox pigris radicibus haeret,
ora cacumen habet: remanet nitor unus in illa.
her uttered prayer
skin hardens to darkened bark
and arms to brances
her legs and torso to trunk
her face the Laurel tree top
The will, ever our instrument of our openess to barbarity or grace. Daphne, choosing grace, preserved her integrity, at the cost of being Laurel. Apollo, ever that civilized Olympian, chose barbarity, possessing the Laurel evermore.
wind-swept boughs over
Is love truly possible, then?
As though Baucis and Philemon didn’t witness its truth. For what did they answer when the Gods offered them anything?
“‘auferat hora duos eadem, nec coniugis umquam
busta meae videam, neu sim tumulandus ab illa.’”
“Let not the hour
come between us at our death
nor see each other’s tombs”
In the fullness of their lives did they receive their gift.
frondere Philemona Baucis,
Baucida conspexit senior frondere Philemon.
iamque super geminos crescente cacumine vultus
mutua, dum licuit, reddebant dicta ‘vale’ que
‘o coniunx’ dixere simul, simul abdita texit
ora frutex: ostendit adhuc Thyneius illic
incola de gemino vicinos corpore truncos.
Baucis and Philemon
saw each other growing leaves
said their last farewell
and their entertwined bodies
grew to an Oak and Linden
If sharing every moment of their lives to the last isn’t love, what is?
wind-swept leaves swirl around