The monster crouches upon the chair
Around him tread? No one dares
This stranger reeks of putrid scent
Discarded peels and riper vents
Eyes flare with malicious light
Struck with each glance, another plight
Milk won’t sweeten his dour mien
Nor holy water rinse him clean
Speak to him and he’ll count you friend
But don’t doubt, he’ll make no amends
Seven years, you’ll dance his frightful tune
Until death take you, far too soon
So heed my words, they are your boon:
Grant him entrance and it’ll be your doom.
On a jutting rock, the goddess of the sea
watched the lad who rode often along the beach
between the fisherman’s wharf and a mountainous village.
He came each morning and left each night,
bringing and taking away her joy
to a place she could not reach.
She asked the river nymphs to follow far inland.
Behind hills wreathed in mist, they tell her of the maid he woos.
As she weeps, they rip pearls from her hair in payment,
revenging a scorn she once dealt them long ago.
A slave passing by the agora sees the marble face of the dead warrior he once rode with to battle. His breath catches and shakes. His knees tremble at its youthfulness and thoughtful stare, at the lips he once coveted and dared to press against one evening, soon after conquest had sparked a fire that ran its voracious course between them.
He turns away, ashamed at the calluses on his ankles where the chains cut him for months before he yielded. But when he turns again, heart aching, he finds the statue no longer wears the visage of his beloved. And he, who for a moment, was a man anew, returns defeated to servitude.