's post today
(probably safe for work, unless your workplace is opposed to photos of bare-chested men in ponds) made me finally dig up my attempt, years back, to write up Apollo and Hyacinthus as a libretto for a possible one-act chamber opera (what can I say, I had a crush on a gay composer at the time, this was all I could do to catch his eye)
, and see how badly it sucked. I've had to guess where I meant most of the original line-breaks to go, but if you want to see my twenty-something self's angsty poetry, Cthonic Youth
lies below the cut:( Read more... )Cthonic Youth
by S. E. Ennals, 1999
Hyacinthus: (Alone on stage)
I am lucky over all men, for I am beloved of the sun.
On me his eyes delight —his darling, his lovely one.
I cannot wait till he comes back again —
I’m up, dressed, waiting now, though it’s still night.
He’s promised me the second sight and taught me many things:
Music of strings, of spheres
and, now and then, of numbers.
How could I stay in bed and sleep till day,
when in my head all this is going ‘round like the sound of flies’ wings?
Funny way to talk of a god and his favours,
but all the same, they do go ‘round, my thoughts,
and hum an insect tune,
some strain not in a major key or a happy vein.
I know this can but end in ill.
I do not need his gift to tell that it can’t last. When the Fates cast me to him
they did not mean well.
For he is a thing of gold; light runs in his veins;
while I must grow old, he cannot change.
What will he do, poor god, when I am gone and he remains?
Will Earth wake up some day frozen cold?
Or will days cease, when I am gone?
Or will he carry on?
Perhaps it will not end like that.
Perhaps, some bright day, he
will find me dull and cold to him.
Perhaps his love for me
with time will dim.
For he is bright day, merciless to age;
a man might love a mayfly, or a cricket in a cage, soon as a god love a mortal.
Should I leave him then?
Where could I hide from that piercing eye?
I’d be found out —
and to face him, when he looked in doubt at me, and sighed, and asked me why?
Although I know this can’t go on,
I sit here, waiting for the dawn to bring the love I soon will lose, my fair shining one.(Enter Apollo)
Apollo: Sweet flowering mortal lad, welcome the light!
Apollo: Even in heaven, how the nights are drear,
but now that morn unveils the earth to sight
and with it you, my own — why, heaven is here!
Apollo: Don’t kneel. Fear not the warmth of my embrace.
These arms shall hold you close — don’t tremble so --
Hyacinthus: O God!
Apollo: These fingers comb the hair back from your face...
Hyacinthus: O your mouth...
Apollo: and make room on your brow, for my lips to go...
Hyacinthus: Your eyes are so bright.
Apollo: To look upon you, dear, is all my joy.
Hyacinthus: I waited for hours till you came.
Apollo: Such a soul, to such a body framed —
A god might love here without fear of shame.
Hyacinthus: O calm my heart, cradle my head, for I am afraid.
Apollo: Why, what is wrong, my own dear lovely boy?
Hyacinthus: You move so fast love, that my poor feet will never keep up to you. I’ll be left behind.
Apollo: I had forgotten you were human. Beat calmer, heart of flesh; poor mortal sweet.
Apollo: Come here. My strength I’ll gentle, not to crush your weakness. Harm will never come to you while you are in my arms. I know I must take care with you. Why are your eyes shut? Is my face too bright?
Hyacinthus: No. I am sad; I don’t know why. The air is bearing down on me, and the grasshoppers whine like a headache coming on. I wish it would rain!
Apollo: It is not right for such a lovely face to look so dismal. Just say the word, and we’ll go anywhere you like. Geography song
I’ll open up my treasure-box of lands, and you can count the cities up like precious stones;
In this one sea alone, just count the islands: see how they sparkle like foam.
Seek out some nest, my soft seabird, or roam
the waves from harbour rocks to beachy sands,
making each new spot in turn your home.
I know you like buildings, and books:
Th’Egyptians have wonderful architecture;
libraries; sphinxes; colossi that moan in the dawn;
But their river (tho' noble) is sluggish and green
and their weather too dusty and hot — I prefer
cooler climes. Do you like to look
down from great heights? There are views to be seen.
Listen! I know of a plain
where long ago, people gathered to build.
With stout ropes, they herded huge stones to the spot:
A feat great as the Pyramids, surely! For though
not so high nor so straight as your temples, the rock pillars loom to this day where those old folk set them;
and still each year I pierce that hall to the heart.
Further west? Everywhere I am welcome,
No passport required. New York hiding in fog and smoke
boasts not to sleep, but when I step ashore
I can see how I’ve been sorely missed, for the people
all rub their eyes, newly-awoken, surprised;
What is their neon dark,
compared to my gold on the leaves in the park?
Or if you prefer a crisper clime
Take in Canada’s sharp outlines;
Bright and hard as its stones is the air
off the seas and the rivers and lakes. You can see
in the cities, the mountains. The breeze
from the high tundra colours the cheek
of Ontario peach and Annapolis pear.
On an island live strange birds, and tortoises
as big as mixing vats or banquet dishes.
I shine on them, receive their wordless homage, for
’tis what you humans call deserted
but you could be the first man if you wish,
As ’tis with you and you alone
the time I’d while away, in any jewelled garden on the whole Earth’s jewelled isle.
Hyacinthus: It’s not that I’m ungrateful to you, but
there are some things immortals just can’t know.
You don’t understand —
Time’s not the same for me as ’tis for you.
The clock that ticks inside me will ring out
no matter the land.
I have no demand.
Apollo: No demand? I command, I entreat you to ask for a wish. Where’s the task
I would not do for you? I must make you some gift,
little butterfly — lift up your eyes and take heart. Ask me.
Why won’t you ask?
This is what I saw. This morning, I knew, would be our last.(aloud)
And what would I ask for?
You’ve always said you wouldn’t want me any other way —
And I don’t want a change;
what’s left, I pray?
I don’t want toys. It only shames us both for you to offer them. I just love you.
Please just love me.
Let’s forget. Life’s too short
for this sort of mistake. No, it’s a fine day for...
Apollo: Dear simple Hyacinth!
Is that all you want? Your wish is my command, my child.
Shall I show you how to throw the discus?
For I know your heart is mild;
you’d rather play at hunting prey of bronze than shoot the wild deer.
I know what you’re all thinking:
"Why not ask for immortality, little fool?” But you see, I know him — while he knows so much, he forgets. I’m a mortal, and know the rules.
The luckiest man in the world can have life, or youth — not both. It’s not a choice I’m keen to make: To be Endymion, beautiful sleeping piece of meat? or Tithymus, dead stick with a soul inside? Besides, he’d get bored. The gods cheat on each other; no blame, so do we, often, and we live only a few dozen years with our loves. No, I’ve made up my mind: I’ll take as much happiness with him as I may, and never grudge my fate.The Death of Hyacinthus
Hyacinthus: (struck by the discus)
: O red!
I’m not drunk, so why
does my head
turn round so heavily
sight spin a spiderweb
over my eyes
and I’m lying on the ground
and each sound
thousands of times
My heart clutches as it climbs
and the breath in my throat
stops solid and still,
as the colours so shrill of the world strike the light’s note
my watery limbs float away…
O my flying eyes!
O the veins in my wings sing!(Dies.)
Please O please darkness let me mourn
in black; should’ve been the night sky
I should’ve been the moon, curled-up stillborn
In darkness I wouldn’t have seen him
wouldn’t have loved,
wouldn’t have seen him die.
No breath, no more a breath, no
pulse, no tremor, no sighs, not a thread
of air, never an eyeball’s flicker or
a heartbeat’s stammer. Summer’s cut
at the root and severed.
O he was life itself! You glutton, death, you swallower,
to take the whole warm world
in one gulp. Lick your lips
and smile, and lap me up too, eclipse,
before I take another breath...Apollo's Song
I never saw you; never saw you, dear.
I was dazzled by your looks as by a mirror.
All-seeing, I — I never thought of what might lie
behind your pretty shining eyes.
I did not.
Pinned down with lofty speech, I thought I had you where I knew the angles, called the shots —
Glare blinded me. My aim was off, untrue. I fixed my eyes and I broke you.Finale
Your path has curved away from mine,
you spiral into blackness like a spark;
while I must keep my circle’s course,
and never know the dark.
I cannot follow on that path.
I must stay here and keep the watch’s light,
through rounds of tired revolving days
till I catch up the night.
The prisoner blood within you, love,
I freed, albeit most unwillingly.
It wriggles bright across the ground,
escapes into the leaves.
While I lie bound in my own rays,
Outstripped by your emancipated hour,
I’ll spend my hard eternity
in mourning for a flower.The End