Mazara del Vallo, Sicily
Copper and tin blaze
in the sculptor’s crucible;
a bronze river pours,
cools into an imagined form:
he shall sport the ears and tail
of the goat and, naked,
eyes rolling to the sky,
hair streaming from a god-given wind,
torso arched, fling himself
forever into wild air.
Stowed among ingots
oil in amphorae
he crosses Aegean
the four winds of Aeolus.
But the octopus
(as in the mosaic)
has seen it all
waits it out
in the depths.
When Zeus says
hauls ship and cargo
down to their
On the sea floor, the fishermen’s nets have snagged:
two millennia of silt-shrouded sleep begin
to stir; the winch registers the strain on ropes
as they shudder-in their rising catch.
He explodes through wave into azure light,
this poor forked form of copper and tin,
gnawed by verdigris, un-Dionysian, mute.
Empires have vanished in the hiatus
of his long-suffered sea-change:
three limbs missing, hacked above the joint;
and those are not pearls, that were his eyes.
Raised – or risen? – you are back
in your elements
your maker had you stomping
wailing wild air in your gyrations
so even now
your phantom limbs weave echoes
in this silent space
These seas are seamed with crossings
seaways of leaving
seeking returning blown off course
and without arrivals – the drowned
and the saved
the ship’s wake soon swallowed
What are you but our aspiration
cast in bronze
Pointless to intercede with you
so no ora pro nobis – just remind us
of your dance
show us the choreography
our second chance.