Deep in myth, these galleries keep their counsel
but re-distribute all the elements.

Nymph rides goat, at-tended by a satyr
who pats her rump to help her keep her seat;

putto rides goat, attended by a nymph.
Two other satyrs from behind a bush

leer at a nymph reclining in a grot.
By a Maenadic, irrepressibly

chortling nurse-attendant, infant Bacchus
is given wine to drink. And over here

Eurydice sees the vi-per, lifts her skirt,
scurries”in vain, we know, but she does not.

This story isn’t over yet. Behind them
all, a massive hilltop fortress built

of solid stone is somehow catching fire.
Perspective, possibilities peel back:

reluctantly we leave one world, reen-ter
another, where we have already seen

stone burning and a crane collapsing. Now
get ready for the sea-son of the snake.

Articles by Rachel Hadas

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