Issue 72, Winter 1977
When Dionysus and Apollo met,
the gods were angry (the goddesses were sleeping)
that two such equals and such opposites
should join together, to the general peril.
Love so unbridled would disturb the state
of earth and heaven: no one will be safe—
“Safety,” said Dionysus, “is a sin”;
“it would offend the body,” sang Apollo;
and they continued at their amorous play,
setting the nosey gods to doze and babble:
Dionysus fuddled them, it was his way;
Apollo, turning from his pleasure, dazzled.
They took a day to savour their delight,
a night to kiss (the kiss, of course, a French one);
mes dieux, it was a week before they lay
so deep within each other that they melted.
They gave themselves themselves, it was a marriage
that needed no review of sanctification,
the clergy (who were not invented)
were not invited to the celebration.
Love has a way of leading one’s thoughts astray:
whether to choose contentment or desire—
their bodies were animal, the gods decided,
and animals are attracted to the fire.
Every animal, man, or god,
after sex, sings in his blood—
they had been down to earth for contemplation
and even gods admit to imitation.
They sang, in harmony, their revelling song
and earth beneath them heard the noise:
it had the heavenly sound of manly lovers,
light in its burden, rough in its undersong.