Aphrodite Agon Entry 4

For Aphrodite by Neve

From your Sappho

flowed honeyed words

many of which

spoke in flowering terms

spoke of1

flowers and breezes

flowers

flowering fields

flowering sweetclover

dewy banks of lotus

hyacinth on the mountain

hyacinth-colored egg

violets in her lap

arms like roses

dawn with arms of rose

share in the roses

goatherd […] roses

roses bloom

rosyfingered moon

I used to weave crowns

garlands made of flowers around your soft throat

gathering flowers so delicate a girl

oh for Adonis

Adonis, Adonis

Delicate Adonis is dying / What shall we do? 

Strike yourself / maidens / and tear your garments

Oh may you grant

this humble poet

a tongue which

might sing such

words of sorrow

and delight

honey this tongue

that it might sing

of that ecstasy

especially yours

yours which loves and suffers

loves entirely

loves in the gardens of Adonia

from beginning to end

like a rose

cut to whither

yet no less pungent

less moon-colored

less thorny

for the fact of its demise

let me be a voice

that informs of the dangers

gives fair warning

so we may knowingly

hazard that path regardless

up the mountain

where flowers are stompt and windswept

spare me not your initiations lady

that I may struggle

to speak the unspeakable 

ἄρρητος

mysteries

held in your mirror.
1 Translations of individual phrases taken from Anne Carson, as rendered in If Not, Winter

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