antikythera fragments

 

I

for it is fruitless, it is helplessness,
to weep for the dead…

and men like ashtrees
sprung up on the land,
the fallen seed of kronos,
grown prodigal and dangerous,
agamemnon
tall tree of the wastes of the plain,
grown to outlive his better days
in the arms of love’s welcome
after warfare.

earth grown wild with men,
thorn thicket and dark-wooded,
crowded with shadows
of ornate savagery,
hear our song:
of inhuman humanity,
all-conquering, all-consuming,
hear the fabled odyssey
of the spiralled nerve,
the coiling, dividing, self-replicating
tale of the golden bough
held high and shaken,
engendered of adam,
the multitude of heavens,
the sands of the sea.

II

wealth without worthiness
is an unwelcome guest;
but their proper mix is
the summit of beatitude…

time clocked
in the turning sky,
the whirling, wandering
lyrical stars reborn nightly
after the closed days eye,
prefiguring, auguring,
the rise and fall of empires,
of city states,
democracies and tyranarchies,
athenian and american
hegemonies,
always over-egging it,
always over-reaching,
too many towers built
on nothing
but ego and desire,
these shards of hubris,
and always one too-many war,
that brings it all down,
the glittering facade
crashing down,
to the blank eye of a
zero.

III

along land built of stone
collected by human hands,
where formerly ravening fish
kept company with sea snails…

in the crisp sea sands
a coral clock lies counting
time’s calcareous accretions,
permitting scant examination.
posidonius laid this garden,
where it grew in rich minds
well cultivated,
telling the periodicity of the heavens,
revealed, revealing,
yielding up their secrets for you,
measurer of moons,
famed night-stroller,
issuing through golden rotations
auspicious days for sowing,
growing and harvesting
the boon days of ceres…

IV

if he’s religious, let him look to hope.

the shining wheel cast in purity,
(though mixed as prescribed,
lean-alloyed, 95% copper, 5% tin)
drawn in the sand
then from the sand drawn
with god-like detachment,
unprecedented precision,
and set high in an alcove,
among the painted gods,
the mesmerous parthenoi,
the wonder of wonders
of this waking world,
’til other hands carried you
along corridors, corpse strewn,
fogged with the furies of fallen blood,
to the fated hold
of the heavy treasure craft,
elm timbers groaning,
over-burdened with gold-lust,
littered with heroes and gods,
and the clock,
the heavenly machine,
no more than a curiosity
among the desolate spoils,
until the swallowing swell
the storm sent rising,
sent them swimming deep,
into oceano’s roaring
off antikythera…

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