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Ann Stanford

(1916 - 1987 / California / United States)

The Fountain


You must remember never to offend the gods
by being too sure of anything.
Think of Niobe, how she grew in pride
watching her seven tall sons and seven fair daughters.

Who would not? Having created such
superb heads set on the pure column
of the neck, the long hair glistening in the sun
and their voices musical as water

in a bright stream rippling over rocks -
the archer, the runner, the studious,
the orator, the weaver, the gatherer of garlands,
one with his horse, another at the lyre.

Wherever she looked she saw the gold
limbs of her children, strong
in the sun, their laughter
beyond the sounds of the strings, even the chords

Orpheus struck before he lost his bride
before he disobeyed the charge of Hades
and looked back into the dark
where Arachne in a still corner wove

over and over the stories of the gods
and their offenses, how Hades caught
Persephone, and Leto's son
killed one by one the children of Niobe.

Submitted: Thursday, September 04, 2014
Edited: Thursday, September 04, 2014

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