sarcophagi and antidotes to doubt
SARCOPHAGI AND ANTIDOTES TO DOUBT
When faith like jackals feeds among the tombs,
it hopes to find within the catacombs
an antidote to doubt, which is the hope
on which it hangs itself without a rope.
In sarcophagi the Romans chose
not only on the dead, but doubt, to close
the lid, anticipating in the after-
life a death that would be filled with laughter.
Inspired by a review by T. P. Wiseman, Emeritus Professor of Classics at the Univerwsity of Exeter, of Living with Myths: The imagery of Roman sarcophagi, translated by Julia Slater, by Paul Anker and Björn C. Ewald (“Dead erotica, ” TLS,6/28/13) : , and an review of Herman Melville by Elizabeth Hardwick, in “The Wise Woman and the Whale, ” NYR,7/20/11.
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