John Lars Zwerenz
A Grecian Tale
My soul, like a languid, lamenting bird,
Gazes to the east, with its distant, red face;
I desire to escape from the doleful, urban herd,
And depart for a sojourn, to a faraway place.
The sounds of a subway are of a dismal strain;
They die by Central Park in the gray, vaporous dark.
Graffiti on the oaks of brownish, wilting bark
Renders my aesthetic mind weary with disdain.
My spirit of a troubadour, hungry for meadows,
Immured with the city, clasped around my feet,
Will break beyond the tears of these dreamless ghettos,
On a journey to the past-to the Isle Of Crete.
Tall, ivory pillars, of brilliant colonnades,
Grace my white shroud, as I pace on promenades;
Roving through grand dunes of billowing, gold sand,
I feel the royal hold of Apollo’s noble hand.
At last! - I am free; In regal felicity,
I saunter, laved by breezes, blissfully sweet and mild,
As I behold the unbridled, transcendent and wild
Pelagic domain of the exuberant sea.
The Mediterranean’s effervescent breath
Fills my lungs with the wines of Dionysus.
As I pass beyond the veils of intangible death,
Carmine blooms shine, and all becomes miraculous.
There, among statues, on this ancient, Greek traverse,
Like a lover’s suspiration, fulfilled in a dream
Of a freshet of fountains, glistening in a stream,
Thalassic furrows gleam- like ethereal verse.
Soft zephyrs veer through the courtyard of a palace,
Caressing the rims of an eminent chalice,
Stirring ripples in the sovereign wine,
Glimmering in the rays of the immaculate sunshine.
Illustrious marble steps mount a precipice;
Overlooking the oceanic canvas,
I contemplate the death of tragic Icarus,
Above foamy rolls- I weep upon the cornice.
Among cascading brooks, an immense garden shines-
Home to a thousand potent wines and elations;
It ferments amid Hera’s dappled, dangling vines:
A bower of fragrant hues, and mystic revelations!
Pearly fountains fall, as I behold the flowers: -
The enchanting, rosy-red florets of every year;
A Macedonian sentinel of the intoxicating showers
Threatens my adventure with a long, silver spear.
Aphrodite’s white lyres sound like Spanish guitars,
Adorned with the luster of enamored, white stars.
I turn from Alexander, where an orphic breeze veers,
Leaving the blooms of Orpheus, resisting blissful tears.
I pass redolent hedgerows, of ornate enclaves,
In the soft wake of Sappho, I approach wild waves.
A strange, wooden ship of ghostly sails awaits my heel;
I board the cryptic schooner, and it creaks where the currents reel.
The large, foreboding vessal knows no other hand but I.
I clasp the splintered wheel, beneath a baleful sky.
Something is beneath the boat; (why I do not know)
All that I can fathom is the kraken dwells below.
Through a storm I pervade, beyond the gleaming sand;
I sail at topmast, northward, to the deep Aegean Sea,
Until the sirens are left with no sonatas to assail me;
I find a forgiving harbor- Onto the glorious mainland!
I reach the Acropolis, and I witness the ancient plays.
A goddess of wisdom scents the Parthenon with grace.
By an alabaster temple, Athena’s fair face
Smiles as I bless her, with aramanthine bouquets.
My heart, gravely moved, beholding her Doric rose,
Is engulfed in a florid, fountainous repose.
The fire of her kiss leaves my soul profoundly weak.
I have visions of celestial reason- of which I can not speak.
I see in the distance, spirited, fine and black,
A stallion beaming in the sun, awaiting my plea:
“I implore, tenacious breed, to saddle your raven back;
Let us ride beyond the wind- beside the splendid sea! ”
We pass through a viny, trellis-lined portal,
Beyond the azure glow of a tall, resplendent tree;
We reach the blue dominion of His teeming majesty-
The great and stony titan: - Poseidon- The Immortal!
The pure, valiant spirits of my gallant horse and I
Witness the quintessence of the infinite fly by;
Beneath the bronze of the sky, across the diamond shore we race,
Increasing the speed of our incredible pace.
Lifted above the world, beyond curtains of time and space,
Together we breach all earthly realms as we ride,
Entering an effulgent place beside the tide;
We behold upon the billows-a glimpse of heaven’s face!
Rising above the crest of topless ecstasies,
We witness beyond a glided gate a glimmer-
Blooming into an ardent, ravishing shimmer-
Containing all kinds of ineffable rubies.
And so, like Zeus, on Mount Olympus I ascend,
To absorb all that is rapturous and lofty.
But like all true bards who transcend an ecstasy,
I relinquish my spirit and my wings in the end.
My muse whispers into my ears: “You must return home.”
The sunlight disappears, withering on the vanishing foam.
Shedding red, the dream is pierced, as if with a rending fork.
The beach sheds amber tears, as I behold New York.
And so, my fair pedigree of the banished sand,
Because reality has claimed my intellect,
I must bid you farewell, left only to recollect
A nebulous vestige of your enchanted land.
(~ From Visionary Wanderings)
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