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The small things goddesses do

July 15, 2017

In ancient Greece, a goddess, nymph

or god was always near at, and

prepared to lend a helping hand

to make a herdsman from a prince,

a shipwrecked sailor reach the shore,

and war from peace, or peace from war.

Too neat, I always thought, too neat…

 

Until, collapsed from drink and stress

in a London park, and hauled to my feet

and then let fall, by CID,

an Aphrodite in a summer dress

appeared, with the warmest smile,

and sat with me as I revived

enough to shuffle, sheepish, home,

while she returned to the hills, alone…

 

And when they set the pumps to flood

the Athens park, beneath whose shrubs

we’d slept, and sent us scurrying with

our sleeping bags for higher ground,

Demeter, dressed in widow’s black,

emerged unbid from dawn to give

us carrier bags of bread and grapes,

then turn and walk away

without a further glance or sound.

 

So they were right, the poets, that

the gods descend in mortal shape

and influence the course we take:

slight variances of fate, perhaps –

no major shifts of plot; as acts

of kindness surely cannot not

impact how those they touch proceed,

nor how they impact those they touch

in turn…

 

But are they kindnesses?

We count as playthings merely, seen

from Mount Olympus, and I need

to ask those careless goddesses

who squandered intercession on

my undeserving youth, have I

exhausted all my share?

 

There’s neither shade nor sky. I watch

you slump against the hollow rim

of where what’s yet to come, or gone,

is dried and lifted by the wind

to fall and fleck the dunes; you dare

not dream nor raise your eyes beyond

horizons where the haze begins.

 

I do, and see that neither what

nor how we pray, makes any odds

at all to goddesses who change

the views they look down on, at whim,

between this arid lowland, and

a valley blessed by quiet rain.

 

Published in Anima, Issue 4, Summer 2017 http://www.animapoetry.uk/new-products/anima-issue-4

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