A cave like bone, bowed stone under brittle stone,
Hides behind a labyrinth of vines,
With slow sleepers lapped in a promise of design.
The names change with the sun’s shadow,
Arthur, Ogier, Charlemagne, all heroes
Waiting to reclaim presence, retouch legend.
But the suffering peasant never offers enough:
Muffles the morning bell, fumbles the unheard horn,
Forgets the sword to cut time’s web of beard.
The sleepers stir into summer, their hunters’
Eyes blind from blood’s bright lust; then,
Their solemn slumber clutches them again.
So sleep grows thicker with sweet autumn colors;
Piled white with winters as the glacier passes,
The ice is all that in their hearts still marches,
While a last star's glitter spatters frozen faces
And darkness flows out from their secret places.
When Eurydice was scythed like grain,
She became for him a dark place name;
Under a roof of earth stark with roots,
She grew polished as veins, the blue
Mystery of her strung in lyre strings
That stained his fingers, caught him trembling
In clutching wind, in tumbling rain.
She made for him a strange place name,
A precious essence entered in the earth,
A music culled from sky and stone but first
From her deep flesh, from his fearful wish
To reach the life gone in a lightning flash
From ground to cloud, a cloud poured down in sound.
He summoned up a dream to pluck her out,
His fingers strummed away the rotted strings,
Flicked crevices with tricks for touching
Endings. She followed stumbling, stammering,
But his vision dreamed her form without a face;
She vanished then, buried deep as pain:
He sings in hopes his love may grow like grain.
(Horace Ode I.5 translated)
Who’s the latest rich young guy
Sitting with you in your rose bower,
Pyrrha? Thinking you innocently shy,
He glories in your hair’s golden shower.
The storm will be blowing in soon now,
Angry and dark as the sea,
The wind that cancels all vows,
And leaves Pyrrha happily free.
He will come to regret the blind cost
Of thinking you shining and true;
He’ll curse the bright world he has lost
And the spring that was blasted in bloom.
And I—I hung up my clothes in a shrine—
They were all that remained from your wreck—
To thank Neptune, who was kind
Enough to save my foolish neck.
Ace G. Pilkington has published over one hundred poems, articles, reviews, and short stories in five countries. His poetry has appeared, among other places, in Asimov's, Amazing, Enchanted Conversation, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Mindsparks Science Fiction Poetry Anthology, Spark: A Creative Anthology, Weirdbook, and Weird Tales. He is an active member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and the author of Screening Shakespeare from Richard II to Henry V. His essays are included in Cambridge University Press's Shakespeare and the Moving Image, and in McFarland’s Star Trek as Myth, and The Films of James Cameron. He is co-editor with Matthew Wilhelm Kapell of The Fantastic Made Visible: Essays on the Adaptation of Science Fiction and Fantasy from Page to Screen. And with his wife, Olga, he is the co-editor and co-translator of Fairy Tales of the Russians and Other Slavs, which includes stories about vampires, werewolves, and other shape shifters. Ace’s book Science Fiction, Futurism, and the Terms and Ideas Behind Them is forthcoming from McFarland in 2016. He is Professor of English and History at Dixie State University and Literary Seminar director at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, which produced his play Our Lady Guenevere in their New Plays series. He has a D.Phil. in Shakespeare, history, and film from Oxford University.
You can learn more about Ace from his website HERE or on his author page
at Facebook HERE