Hephaistos’ Hammer

P Sufenas Virius Lupus

I think of him as each day dawns,
I think of him as night descends,
I beat the shields of brightest bronze
and iron points that shield defends.

He was an exile like myself
unfairly treated by his kin —
what loss is it to mortal health
if kin offended is one’s sin?

I think of him as each day dawns,
I think of him as night descends,
I beat the shields of brightest bronze
and iron points that shield defends.

I gave him swords, I gave him knives,
I gave him love and my own heart,
and Cheiron gave him back his life
which kept him from me, torn apart.

I think of him as each day dawns,
I think of him as night descends,
I beat the shields of brightest bronze
and iron points that shield defends.

What irony it was when thence
to Thetis he was married true;
my heart an iron ball of dents,
my heart with iron piercéd through.

I think of him as each day dawns,
I think of him as night descends,
I beat the shields of brightest bronze
and iron points that shield defends.

I was invited to their joy —
for gifts, perhaps, more than as friend —
but I would gladly for that boy
my greatest efforts on him spend.

I think of him as each day dawns,
I think of him as night descends,
I beat the shields of brightest bronze
and iron points that shield defends.

I made a shield unparalleled,
I forged the armor known worldwide;
no godly craftsman has excelled,
nor better shielded someone’s side.

I think of him as each day dawns,
I think of him as night descends,
I beat the shields of brightest bronze
and iron points that shield defends.

He had a son — a splendid youth —
and gave my gifts to him in turn;
but better yet — it is the truth —
he gave him he that made him burn.

I think of him as each day dawns,
I think of him as night descends,
I beat the shields of brightest bronze
and iron points that shield defends.

Patroklos was like Peleus,
wronged and wretchéd, yet deserving
of the heart of Achilleus
and his loyalty unswerving.

I think of him as each day dawns,
I think of him as night descends,
I beat the shields of brightest bronze
and iron points that shield defends.

Beloved, he lived onwards still
when son succumbed to fated heel,
when grandson died — Apollon’s kill —
as bronze still outshines iron and steel.

I think of him as each day dawns,
I think of him as night descends,
I beat the shields of brightest bronze
and iron points that shield defends.

I have a wife and children two,
but she has lovers scattered wide
so what is it to her if through
my love the best have lived and died?

I think of him as each day dawns,
I think of him as night descends,
I beat the shields of brightest bronze
and iron points that shield defends.

I am misshapen, pained and bowed
but in these furnace flames I cleanse
all ugliness and beat out proud
great works of skill and art for friends.

I think of him as each day dawns,
I think of him as night descends,
I beat the shields of brightest bronze
and iron points that shield defends.

Let none who live in beauty think
that those, even among the gods,
who seem with sulfur’s fumes to stink
are poor contenders in Love’s odds.

I think of him as each day dawns,
I think of him as night descends,
I beat the shields of brightest bronze
and iron points that shield defends.

And now I sing my song anew
and fashion weapons as fine words
which flow like ambrosial brew
from Muses’ lips with tongues of birds.

For those who deeply drink of this —
if art or craft or love or skill —
are stronger than the shield I kiss
with flames which even Zeus can’t still.

 

 

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