• Email
  • Print

A Sample Seance: the Excursion to Ephesus

An extract from the forthcoming sequel to Mirabell. Time: summer, 1977. Place: the village of Pythagorion on the Greek island of Samos. It is Pythagoras’ birthplace. The first “voice” will be Auden’s—who calls us MY DEARS or DEAR BOYS; then comes Maria (“Maman”) who calls us ENFANTS. Michael is the Archangel. (M) habitually signals a lurking metaphor. Pythagoras should have seen us yesterday
Scrambling high above the sea’s blue smudge
Through the bleached boneyard of Ephesus; returning
At twilight, thistle-stung, with faces burning
And JM limping where he missed a step
On a steep stairlessness, and hurt his knee.

Now in our shuttered room, while the town sleeps:
NO SIESTA? READY FOR A TREAT?
WE’VE BROUGHT PLENORIOS THE ARCHITECT
OF ARTEMIS’ GREAT TEMPLE—Instead of words,
Broad “visionary” movements of the cup.
CUBITS & WIDTHS I’D BETTER PARAPHRASE
…AH A NICE BIT HE SAYS: I HAD A DREAM
IN IT THE GODDESS BENDING OVER ME
SAID ‘MAKE MY GLORY, SUCKLE! HERE & HERE:
THIS TEAT IS PROPORTION, THAT ONE SPLENDOR.
I WANT THE MARBLES BARE OF DECORATION
& NO CLOSED SPACES SHELTER ME IN GRAND
& SIMPLE BEAUTY & YOU WILL GO TO HEAVEN!’
I BUILT A WONDER, & AM HERE. Alas,
The wonder’s gone. No stone remains in place.
AH BUT THE LEGEND DOES DEAR BOY REMAINS
ARE GHASTLY. EPHESUS! STREETS SWARMED WITH GHOSTS
BAZAARS COVERED PALANQUINS CRIES OF VENDORS
A YOUNG BEAUTY SCREAMING WITH LAUGHTER RAN
OUT OF THE BATHS ON TRAJAN’S AVENUE
IT WAS A FEAST DAY U CHOSE WELL & MICHAEL
RAISING HIS HAND, TIME LIKE A SCUDDING CLOUD
RACED BACKWARD. I & OUR OWN ARTEMIS
STROLLED THRU IT ALL ENRAPTURED BY ONE MORE
GLIMPSE INTO MAN’S ILLUSION OF HIMSELF.
THANK U FOR EPHESUS! DJ: Were you
Glimpsed by the ghosts? JOSTLED ENFANT & STEPPED ON!
THE CROWDS, THE NOISE, SO GREEK! & YET OUR QUIET
ELEGANCE DID NOT GO UNNOTICED. BLUE
SPARKLINGS LAPPED THE NEAR EDGE OF THE THEATRE
WHARVES WITH PLEASURE RAFTS & THE VAST MARKET’S
FRAGRANCES & AWNINGS! MEANWHILE THRU
WHAT WAS REALITY FOR US YOU 2
CD BE SEEN PEERING AT THE SKELETON
LIKE MED STUDENTS JM I CRIED WATCH OUT!
WHAT U DID NOT STEP ON WAS THE VANISHED
MARBLE TREAD YET DREAMILY YR FOOT
BORE DOWN EXPECTING IT SO COUNTLESS THINGS
GONE FROM THE WORLD ENDURE IN ITS (M) WINGS
In theory, there’s no age or place, Maman,
You couldn’t visit? NOT IF MICHAEL BUYS
THE TICKETS What’s our next move? FISHER BOYS?
Wystan, please. ENFANTS ME FOR A BLACK
COFFEE BY THE WATER Great, let’s go!
YR TREAT OUR COINS SADLY OUT OF DATE

  • Email
  • Print