Adonis (Poem)


Adonis, boy, a tender spring shoot,
Seeded in a secret light of forbidden love,
Unblemished, stainless, in perfection born,
From Smyrna’s deep root, the laboring womb.
Perfumed boy, waxing among the sweetest sap,
Delivered into the world, a blooming mortal flower,
Fated to live and love between earth and sea.

Garland-crowned prince, beloved of two queens,
A pale flower blossoms and then retreats,
Delivered between the golden arms as seasons turn,
A portion of year to Persephone, and beheld to Aphrodite,
And fair Love receives too his own third in bowered bed,
What insult to fan in the heart of crowned queen of the dead!

Tender boy playing hunter’s fine made man,
Under careful watchful guidance of Aphrodite’s leading hand,
Away, away the dangerous beasts that hunt night and day,
That this bright flower boy in her company always stay.
Love is a sweet thing, it disregards and lays aside,
Unheedful of the needful things, for a time of sweetest bliss.
And that passion which flames up high beneath the kiss,
Strikes vengeful to those who against love transgress.

But summer heat devours the tender gardened plant,
And the fragile frond wilts beneath the heated blast.
That gold-flanked bore bit deep with his curving tusk,
The death-moan like a sigh of youth upon the wind,
And Adonis falls to death in his moist leafy bed.
Spiral up from the tear-wet blood, the blossom flowers,
Fragrant spring blossom, brief in life, Adonis lives anemone.

Weep and cry women, for the sorrow of Aphrodite,
Budding young love ripped from the light of life.
Sorrow with her wandering sorrow, at the side of the sea,
There with golden council, fling in mourning from rock into deep.
Garlands drift upon the waters, a fragrant blossom out of sight,
To the edge of the world, and in spring to come again.

Adonis, fair Adonis, half of the year beneath earth’s breast,
Within Persephone’s rich treasure-jeweled halls to grace.
And then rise again, rise again to Aphrodite’s remembered embrace,
Sweet myrrh embalms and runs fast through trees in spring renewed.
Tender spring flower, brief life so sweet in the world of men,
And beneath raging sun, withered, descend and descend.
Adonis with Aphrodite here, and then so soon gone again,
Cry for grief of Adonis, you who ever loved, bright-cheeked women!


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