Sunday, April 8, 2007

Midas' Psalm


The tower of
counted coin

the wheat of
my granaries

A paved road
for the cart

and the oxen
provided for

My men fitly
fed, attired

civil-minded
and mannered





Olive groves
in abundance

the orchards
fig and plum

Meat, fleece
of the lambs

Hecatombs of
fatted boars

A black bull
for the gods

Pyres raised
to the ether





Lush forests
yield timber

my shipyards
all business

Dawn to dusk
my potteries

the painters
well-trained

Black beasts
wrestle with

Heracles, in
red outlines





And my ships
bearing gold

to pay hands
--all skills

The guilds a
philanthropy

by every man
who advances

the pregnant
contour, hue

the craft of
his ancestor





And I savour
rich texture

of both clay
and tapestry

Spice of the
foreign land

Cinnabar for
a full table

Exotic cloth
for the wife

Peace--in an
orderly life




And my slave
is well-paid

his work not
too exacting

mind or body
not punished

if compliant
with the law

In every way
I am liberal

and civility
is my temper





And twilight
brings larks

to my garden
and vineyard

My forsythia
fresh yellow

Lilacs bloom
by the roses

Clematis and
ivy climb up

green crotch
of the trees





My starlings
flit & flirt

coquettes to
my eye, sore

bent over my
many ledgers

Line by line
the dull ink

this concern
and that one

Deluge after
drought, yet





My daughters
in fine wool

my sons hale
and handsome

The children
of my babies

the clenched
little fists

red-faced in
ornate tears

laughing are
pure delight





These are my
soil, my air

root, branch
shoot, bloom

quick growth
of my summer

wool blanket
to my winter

The arteries
of my health

and the pump
of my wealth





These hew my
soul's shape

No ink shows
it in tables

yet an order
built up and

in every way
sustained by

the tower of
counted coin

the wheat of
my granaries





Float, float
up to heaven

Midas's pure
sprung psalm

Holy Olympus
on its mount

down-clouded
azure, white

but its gods
heard "gold"

and "me" and

nothing else


No comments: