Part One can be read here.
Apollo, source of flame and light, you responded
as you always do to rapture by accelerating
vortices, this time, from my brave king whose body
writhed upon his pyre and the bobble-headed foe
embroiled by injustices, taxations, denominators
low and common. From these ebbs and flows,
the god whose logic cringes from the brine of
lazy minds assigned a coolness to the fire,
shot killing sparks from kindling yarrows;
and already out of mud and clay, swallows
plunged at eyes and ears of executioners
as if upon a field of rye, while from the pyre
roars of carefree laughter poured. The commoners,
my king’s beloved, cried and pointed out, “Behold
our Majesty, he thrives!” The fire hissed and cooled
to blue; ‘twas even said, the golden, gathered sheaves
of harvest threw out seeds ten times their weight
and burnt the skin of the invaders. My sister concubines
set out in cheery droves to fill their skirts and sleeves,
build their jug-nests underneath your eaves.
Oh, my sweet king, how richly you display
unfailing prowess of abundance. Tales reached me
here in exile of the frantic reconsiderings of Cyrus
when he learned his greatest rival would not burn.
The officers not blinded disassembled cedar barely
scorched. They wrapped you in a poultice made of leaves
of laurel, and to Persia they dispatched you as high
counsel to the emperor. Our vaults of gold, I’m told,
have all been plundered. While the citizenry grieves,
so quickly now, before the gulled moon leaves,
I recreate ten times what you and I amassed in Lydia.
The means, I came to know by heart, thought, womb,
and though I’d rather have you by my side and
in my bed, I know your task of disempowering
the easily dispirited provides the ballast that
we need, so I consent to sleeping only with those
whose appetites o’erride the miserly and jealous.
Such men are rare but worth the ecstasy. The grid
of our economy refreshed now swiftly grows
its slumberous lightweight in the meadows.
to be concluded…
© Elaine Stirling, 2014
If you’ve been reading Oceantics for awhile, glosas will be nothing new to you. One of my goals is to restore this glorious Spanish medieval form to appreciative modern audiences. My novella of horror and good medicine, Dead Edit Redo, creeps into the darkest mysteries of the glosa. My compatriot of sorts, Alain C. Dexter, published a whole book of them called Dead to Rights. And while we’re on the topic of self promotion, please take a peek at my newest novel of mystery and magical realism, Daughters of Babylon.
Now I should like to give credit to two other poets, without whom this glosa could not have been written. Antipater of Sidon lived in Greece in the 2nd century. His poem, “The Bidding of the Harbor God”, forms the tenth line of every stanza and drives the glosa’s rhyme scheme. The beautiful translation of his poem is by Sherod Santos, an American poet and author of Greek Lyric Poetry: A New Translation. Thank you, both!