Lanthanum 2.15


Orpheus, on board the Argo, en route toward
snowy Lazicum across the sea, sang not
of Jason's golden fleece, but of his unforgot
Eurydice – with sighing wind assuaged his troubled

mind. Atop the leaning mast, he seemed to see
one star more brilliant than the rest – its spectral
shimmer hovered round that pinnace-pinnacle as if
one helical snowflake chambered an astral honeybee.

Meanwhile, in Lazicum (the real, not fabulous
domain – a cell of morbid, frigid stone) lay dove-
grey Maximus (master of theological flute-play);
he saw the same star wink to him, beyond the walls.

And in Jerusalem, by the Damascus Gate,
the graceful master of mosaic (with a wave
of coral pebble-wand) resurrects King Dave
as Orpheus – throned with lyre amid intricate

acanthus leaves, gazelles and lions, bears
and partridges (entranced, becalmed). Time
effaces even David's face – but not his rhyme;
longings of lazy Orpheus, Lazicum's prisoners

become the same long sigh (cicada-drone);
and the lingering candle of lonely Blackstone,
looking out across his empty arbor (after the
sun goes down) echoes that lamp above Cherson.

In the grey kingdom of Persephone, Eurydice
waits patiently beside the grave of cousin
Lazarus. Orpheus unwinds his shroud. One heart-
wrung Magdalen looks up... sees who
? I see, I see!