For DanteEvening hopscotch-clouded sky have we not somewhere to be?Ill play at being Beatrice lovely Beatrice! for a time.Tell me,(gently, incidentally)why you offered me your sweets.Your scholarly demeanourcharms me but I like your puppymoodsbest.Roman-wrapped,spectacled,smile (yes, even when you dream ofPliny)I think Id like to be your patron saint if, in my absence,you feel pearl-robbedtoo.
Paper-scrap HopeHe lives in a zooand makes friends withthe rambling deer,and he notices whenthe cloudsmove.He isnt lonely but sometimeson windy days,wintry days,when crows fly overhead,he thinks he feelsa little more tired than he didthe day before.She lives in a cloudand counts black smudgesof bird from above,and she knows the namesof different kinds oftrees.She isnt lonely but sometimeson rainy days,nothing-grey days,when an umbrella wont suffice,she thinks she feelsa little less brave than she didthe day before.Sometimes he glances upand he wonders who flecksthe clouds with gold andwith colours thatwere nevernamed.Sometimes she glances downand she wonders whythe deer are not afraidof the odd-looking creaturewho stretches out his hands to feedthem.When he glances up,he feels a bit like a Homericdawn.And when she glances down,shes as brave asAlexander.
The Latin LoverElsa, I saw youthrough the stacks last nightthanks to Bona Fortunawhen it was late well,it was getting late and I worried that yousaw me under the fluorescent lightsand through thehistoriestoo.For how could we avoidone another, whenwe both likedLatin lyrics?Elsa, I joked with youthis morning and you seemedin a daydream muttered something aboutAulularia and exams,all while staring at yourbook but I admired the pagesyou had written in youradoredscrawl,and just before you leftyou eagerly offered apuzzle-pieced anecdotethat made me laugh to myselfall day.Your hair is all scruffyat the back,did you know?Elsa, you smiled at methis afternoon,over your mocha andyour little Loeb Plautus,and I thought perhapswe werent destinedto be awkwardafter all.
AnabasisIve a feelingyou think meridiculous,and indeedI am.For I must marvelat preening galahsthat scatterfrom their ovalwhen the skybegins todarken,and looping butterflies thatcross my path.And I must droppriceless things intothe oceanby accidentand never see them again,because that iswhat Ido.And I must alwayscarry a book,as much for comfortas for knowledge,looted in briefhalf-hourly raids,acquiring goldenoak-leaf diadems of knowledgefrom Arrians lairand glinting star sapphiresfrom Plutarchs keepand Ah!So thats what ancientAthens must havelooked like.Lets call it the anabasisof my ever-amblingmind,and Ill feel a tiny bitimportant.Please write and let me knowyou understand.We can skirt aroundhow lost I amfor a moment,and march up countrytogether youd have to navigate,but we could beAchilles and Patrochlusfor a sweetwhile.Itll be thesimplest thing in theworld, Achilles
Admiring the ClassicistI was so industrious I cleared away curledtendrils of ivyfrom paper-thin walls, andlong-since-spuncobwebsfrom just behindmyeyes.It felt good because suddenlyI was an honest sort ofpure.I helped you up ontothe daisand garlanded youfor effect.Lyrics sailed gentlythrough the unchartered infinitysurrounding you I forgot to paint those wallswith woodland but it didnt matterbecause the lyrics suited youto the last blonde-brown hair,so I was secretly, secretlypleased.I settled you amongstidioms and metaphors,pinked potsherds of poetry,and whenfunny phrases encircled you,I only had the slightest troubleplucking themaway we could converse about booksas long as we pleased.Id forgotten how nice it wasto have the dais occupied,and I smile because yourejust a bit likeApollo how lucky I am,knowing you!See, youve taken my fanciest phrasesaway andstored them in someancient bower,where they
Mytilene DreamingShe had no lake in which they could swim, so they reclined over the long bench in the arbour outside instead, sipping water from champagne flutes.She felt rather like she was in a Pierre Bonnard painting, languorous, dappled like a leaf by lazy afternoon sun yet cooled by the shade of the almond tree in blossom. She turned to her companion and smiled.Shall we fill the glasses with something stronger?All that could be found was lemonade. But she didnt mind she already felt drunk from the heady blossom-scent and the azure-afternoon air, the colour of the ripe cherries in the bowl before them and the sun-speckled leaves of the almond tree, waving in the sea-breeze.May I paint you?Too lackadaisical at that moment to care what her companion did, she laughed and consented. She watched half-heartedly as the easel was set up and the oils were mixed on the palette.You used to sail boats, didnt you? she
Calliope and the ClassicistI am a classicist, he explains, slowly and deliberately, briefly hesitating after the I am as though
what? Uncertain? Uncomfortable with creating a title for himself? Of course, he is not a classicist, really. Not yet. But his head is full of Xenophon and theses and a thirst for all things Greek.It doesnt matter. She falls in love immediately.She quietly says that she doesnt really like the Heathcliffs of the world, or even the Darcys, and looks at him through curtains and curling tendrils of mouse-brown, as though hoping for a reaction. She is actually afraid that someone so omniscient could never understand someone as scatterbrained as herself.She cant tell from the odd expression that crosses his face, but he has fallen in love immediately.She has fallen in his love with his immense knowledge, and he has fallen in love with her willingness, her almo
Angel neglects her plumblossomSuch primal imagery Brutal?No, thatsimagination repulses one,(more than)fulfils the other,and did she cry out?for the sweet angel herselfgave noaccount.Do you remember?She used to wander out daily so gaily! with the garden-greenwatering-can,replenish the wiltingplum-blossomand I do believe itthrived(but what was itabout those leaves?too green, surely
)Angel topples from Olympian heights,some disgraced fallen star,adored by the hoards ofmere mortals and how many walls there are there!flower-patterned,cream-coloured,tiled
(and the plum-blossom wiltsat firstbut grows hardy because itmust and arent the leaves a morenatural shade of greennow?)But what was that wall like?and did she cry out?
A MistresspieceYour shoulders I craftedout of feathers ofgraphite,your eyes out of37,Oriental Blue.But when you actuallylooked at me,they werentOriental Blueat all,and I wasa littleashamedthat I had got them sowrong.The classical curveof your shoulderswas differenttoo.I thought that trying todraw you had beenuseless,because you werea statue, really But, you know,even if Rodin had tried tosculpt you,he wouldnt have got youexactly right because he wouldnt have seen youthat day you had thatodd expression on your face it was in the crowd of commuters,right before you spotted me,dyou remember? and he wouldnt have seen your hairthat day we watched the sun go downand the lights blink onover the city, from the bridge we had tramped that way a thousand timesbefore,seeking cultural refinement,old books, cheap food,anonymity,and solitude, once,but it had never looked so warm and he wouldnt have