My Homepage

Hymns to Athena

B. A. Ramsey
Themistocles' Psalter

From The Seventy-Third Olympiad

10 Jul. 2010

Now there was at Athens a man who had lately made his way into the first rank of citizens; his true name was Themistocles; but he was known more generally as the son of Neocles. This man came forward and said, that the interpreters had not explained the oracle altogether aright - “for if,” he argued, “the clause in question had really respected the Athenians, it would not have been expressed so mildly; the phrase used would have been ‘Luckless Salamis,’ rather than ‘Holy Salamis,’ had those to whom the island belonged been about to perish in its neighbourhood. Rightly taken, the response of the god threatened the enemy, much more than the Athenians.” He therefore counselled his countrymen to make ready to fight on board their ships, since they were the wooden wall in which the god told them to trust. When Themistocles had thus cleared the matter, the Athenians embraced his view, preferring it to that of the interpreters. The advice of these last had been against engaging in a sea-fight; “all the Athenians could do,” they said, “was, without lifting a hand in their defence, to quit Attica, and make a settlement in some other country.”

Herodotus, The Histories VII.143



          Call To Worship
I

I am hoping I shall not come to nought;
For you I have to thank for fulfilment

Of that hope.  Let no one share it but you,
You and I together, the two of us.

Athena, shall we dance? Let us two dance!
Among the woods of the banks of rivers,
Among silver beams and the rays of gold,
Among spring flowers in the old garden.

Toward green pastures where bearded goats play,
Toward good constellations in the sky,
        Toward the sea where we were so forlorn;
Pallas, let us dance! Pallas, let us dance!

In this fantastic harmonious world,

As we dance the sharp night shall disappear.

II
Your ancient song has filled my mouth with voice,
My mouth has mouthed the dead words I forgot,
My voice sings the ancient song I forgot,
Now your choir reminds me from discord.
Now I am one just like you singing songs,
Reminding a friend of forgotten charms;
We shall well note the Castalian Spring,
And sing in time to changing tide of seas.
This song we sing shall outlast our voices,
The words we mouth shall be buried and dug,
Buried and dug by a new, great choir,
Who shall remind the absent of our song.

Then the stars and moon and sun shall take part,

To remind all living and dead with voice.

III
You make the water stand still or run fast;
Water pleases me either swift or slow.
You make all the rocks now tumble or laugh;
The rocks please me whether happy or sad.
You throw the great cliff over like a charm,
Parnassus shall run down trees in the mud,
The mud is like gold, it looks very rich,
Like pastries we dare not eat, dare not eat.
Two mouths now engulf this muddy, rich treat;
Like a blast of thunder, you make me move,
Like the water I’m either swift or slow,
Like the rocks either happy or morose.

Like the cliff, mountain, trees, delicious mud,

Your view is the greatest pleasure I've known.

IV
I have misgivings when I come to pray.
My praying has a high value to me,
I’m praying of misgivings about you,
The ones that I have prayed to hear from you.
These words are prayed in spite of misgivings,
And question the strength of our wooden wall;
My misgivings now spoken, our treasure;
My prayer to overcome, our fortune.
For prayer even foretells what’s to come;
The words that I address to you foretell;
For to always have a prayer ensures
Our buttered bread of more years yet to come.
     If prayer answered is what God would give,

Our life shall answer prayer as we live.


        Laments

V
That you have transported to me your art,
Won by a past deed so long forgotten-
Dare I take it?  Without this can I live
The long forgotten?  Is all debt unpaid?
What sorrow! Can I live without your art?
Shall you kill me to wear your love so close
Though?  Can I mend my own art without yours?
If I die does our art to heaven fly?
I’m asking the same question once again.
It's so lonely without your art by mine;
I can't give you my art, it is broken,
Though at my side your art once mended mine.
     Do not ask me to betray you again,
     Or both a good and bad art shall be mine.



  VI
The bird in the grass to the branch shall flee,
In the grass there is rustling, danger,
On the branch there is company, safety,
But I’m in the air aloof and alone.
The thrush in the street to the ledge shall soar,
In the street there is bustling, raging,
On the ledge there is a quieting view,
Though I’m in the haze with folded blinding.
The thoughts of a bird are morose of a kind,
In degree they are bred from starvation;
To part and to cleave with you, Athena,
The consequence confounds one who leaves bound.
     When high on the eaves of your citadel,
     I worry that I shall not make true flight.






   VII
We are seeing the good come to nothing;
The good fall in the forest, decaying;
The good languish in the urn, septically;
We are seeing them rot, unharvested.
We are watching the bad stop at nothing;
The bad spring in the woods, satiating;
The bad propagate the teeming border;
We are watching them rot, unharvested.
The others run in the marrow and blood,
They wade in the wreckage and dislocate,
They migrate in, out of fatuity,
We are gazing on the ripe fields they graze.
     And the tyrant frost applies no solace,
     As seasons emerge we say we’re lukewarm.






VIII

I see you, safely, in your bed, asleep;
It's not the same to overhear your breath,
To join you in a dream, I desire;
The nightmare of the night is not ending.
But you are isolated in a trance.
Shall not my voice rouse you to awaken?
But you are alone and in a night trance,
The softness of the stars shielded by blinds.
Dreaming who to blame for the agony?
Dare, Athena, in the midst of thunder.
You turn on your side and then the sheets move,
It begins to rain on the window pane.
     You have forgotten all my words to you;
     As you sleep I am kept out of your mind.






  IX

Have you forgotten me as I stand by?
My steadfast love for you has been sneezed at.
There's no longing in your recollection;
Your words are few and very far between.
I shall not leave this place for wanting you,
I shall not leave this place until it's you,
I shall not leave, but you've forgotten me,
There's no calling in your voice, no calling.
There's a sadness which prevails in the land,
The water 's rough and ugly, the sky dim,
The vegetation is despondent here,
In nothing until I see you I wait.
I have not forgotten my song to you,
    My voice is a chorus of empty wind.


X

In all that is good there dwells an evil,
And Pallas, I am good, I am most good;
But my words have been twisted by vile men
Who say you have been wronged by my prayer.
“You are a fool if you think he is good;
“We shall prove that by his side you’ve been duped,
“For he is evil and corrupts your sense-
“There comes not from his prayer any good.”
Listen, Pallas, not to me, but those men
Who tell you that I am cheap to your needs,
Who tell you that we are unsuitable;
They are right, they are right, they are most right.
No good can come from evil in this world,
     Save from words men inspire, my true heart.

  XI
Why do I burden and burn and blister?
You take the water that quenches my thirst,
You wither my flowers in the dry earth;
I’m vanquished, yet you’d bond me to your might.
You are my fountain, you are not my foe;
Ask, and I shall soothe you with sacrifice;
Some sweet; but sour, and you shall destroy.
You shall cull me by the law if I slight.
Therefore, I should be warned, I should be wise;
You'll rule me with fear like a driving storm,
You'll have me trembling. I'll smile or die.
Lightning ever strikes what stirs in the night.

You are quickly kindled to twist my stand;
     Sit by my side and give me gentle rain.

  XII
I shall not speak until I see your face,
I shall not a whisper but to your ear,
I shall not a word but to yourself make,
I am resolved in silence until then.
I am thinking on most profound subjects,
My passing sighs measuring my short life,
My passing hopes making for nothingness;
I am alone, to no one speak these thoughts.
But it's you I see now coming near me,
My voice unused to calling strains your name.
I say, “Athena, I’m only your guest,
“I soon shall pass like these my words to you.”
     I speak to you to know I’ve made a sound;
     Answer me that I might know you can hear.

XIII

I have misgivings when I come to pray
For my words seldom express the matter,
And not ideation, nor sensation.
I am young and time has not yet resolved
My mixed feelings. Will sharing distance us?
I hesitate to speak my thoughts to you;
You will think I am stupid or naive.
But I long for you. How shall I know you?
Perhaps longing is what my words should state.
Is not longing for expression enough
In consequence of my purpose laid bare?
Athena, I esteem you, not praying,
     Yet yearn to pray to overcome myself,
     Goddess, I address you, having cold feet.





Songs of Trust

XIV

Because life is too short for solitude,
For my solitude is yet infinite,
I ask you to take my hand, not sever
From my words. Let us not be cut in two.
Don't dismiss me under the shady tree,
For though I shall not move, the seasons kill;
Under your cool boughs, in the warm season,
Let me beneath your all embracing arms.
How long must I endure my solitude?
When the sun has set and the stars clouded?
Invisible night when the winds don't stir,
And nothing is in my eyes and abroad.

Only sever my hours of solitude,
     Then by your side, Pallas, I’ll have promise.

                       XV
Through my trials I meditate on law.
Through wicked night, and blessed, pleasing day,
The counsel summons pardons to our damned,
Squanders our treasures, pays the morn to mock.
For you, I still defend my conviction.
I go beyond the counsel's endless cause,
My words incite the matter of the heart,
Lest I lose you, I raise the bright effect.
Yet I, by night, have tried to win, but lost.
The verdict of our judge's hapless case
Makes you the light, and I, the sentenced dark,
Divided by the balance of the scale.

Till judgement pines for the guilty person,
     Takes my riches to you who have won them.

XVI
You see me, safely, in my bed, asleep;
I stir and cry out quickly at your side.
You have comforted me against night's deeds,
I say you’re gracious because you hear me.
But I say that in danger I suffer:
I suffer the lies of my enemies,
I suffer the vanity of my peers,
And I say it is you who are godly.
I am angry, but dare not swear or kill;
I look to my heart, clutching my covers;
I do not cry, nor weep, but am silent;
I prostrate myself at night at your side.
I’m more happy, Pallas, than all my friends
     Who rejoice but do not lie at your side.







XVII
I have listened to you in the morning;
In the morning you give me cold breakfast.
Listen to you! You’re telling me the news;
I listen to you say it quietly.
I do not like the rumours of country,
Crimes of young offenders do not find me,
Famine and vice, they do not astound me,
War abates in my mind as you recite.
But there's bad news that seeks to destroy us,
And pity would play consort to your tongue,
And headline our strength and tranquility,
And sit with me and read the daily news.
With your tidings comes the end of trouble;
     I eat while you read and I tell you so.

XVIII
“Be more gentle in the water,” they say.
“In the greater season it turns to ice.
“In the rainy day it is very warm,
“The water is gentle.  Our hair is wet.”
They say, “We are not wild in the water,
“In rougher seasons we sit by the sea
“That does not freeze, but rolls on, again on.
“Liking laughter we sit by the water.”
Be more gentle now, be more gentle now,
Though I’m a gulf apart on a noon beach,
When the sun dissolves the watery dew,
I gently lap in the waves of water.
     I shall give them a good drink of water;
     A gentle drink, for are they not thirsty?





XIX
You are sullen today for I have worn,
The care of our wretched toil has torn,
The last of my passion, our prayer is shorn,
The cries of my dark red heart are forlorn.
Give from this day the rest for your comfort,
Sew now these couture clothes of my import,
Shine in the robe of a Goddess’ sort,
Long as the sleeves of Persia’s great seaport.
How in the flags you wear you are most bright!
Bright flaming costume conceals my dark night,
Give to me your lot, triremes, canon. Might   
Flames still boil a kettle for my plight?
Prayer to you, Pallas, might yet surprise,
     Let it rule you; when you say, “Aye”- shall rise.

XX Show me that one flower in the bouquet,
For melancholic beauty is mindful;
And for the beauty of beauty, a truth,
Pleasure to behold, sadness to neglect.
You are my greatest pleasure, Athena,
You dwell on that flower in the bouquet
(The flower most present in the bouquet)
Pleasure to behold, sadness to neglect.
You’re neglect lies in your forgetfulness,
Forgetful of me when I’m out of sight;
Your neglect makes me perfectly absent,
Bile to behold absence - to possess.
The flower that is always most present,
     I have it, Pallas, when you are mindful.







    XXI

You'll undo no regress that undoes good,
You'll make no excuse for my puerile mind,
You'll leave me henceforth to play pick-up-sticks,
I’ll then once leave my timorous tower.
Your soft, unspoken threat with words assured,
Your turn to pull out the straw from my back,
And a world in a go to tumble down,
Pick it up, pick it up, now pick it up.
Tomorrow shall be yesterday in draughts,
Only a king may jump backwards and win,
It suits me just fine in a house of glass,
To turn the water hose right on the walls.

Now promise me you won't hear what I say,
     And then promise me you won't keep me here.

XXII
Shall we?   No more the evil, wronged abyss,
To barter for a  pleasure with a soul.
You have three coppers for this, for a bliss,
But never do you suspect my great role.
So Pallas, how am I frolicked by night?
You angry goddess, slave unknown to me,
It is a wrong doing that I despise;
Give me my worth and you'll iron my shirt.
There's a promise to keep. For this good deed
I shall live on in all time remembered,
And in a secret grove by lake of sheen
Evening shall descend like a tear of rue.

Then you shall come and wish to speak, and so
     The words are yours, and I am in your due.

XXIII
Tell all the old, great, wise understanders,
There is a pleasure to be found in this.
Tell all the young wives and husbands with babes,
There's sadness in outlandish forgiving.
The lunatic’s, lover’s, and poet's eyes:
Their tears are jewels which bathe the oyster;
A pearl in the sand that we never find,
But a shell in our hands desiring us.
You, the only Goddess I've ever known,
The one sometimes caring, sometimes barely;
The one Goddess I've ever truly known,
I want to say Athena is your name.

But the lunatic and lover nearby
     Eat up my sacrifice throughout the day.







XXIV

They have led me to water once before,
I stooped to see a pebble make a wave,
But drink I did not, never once a drop,
Though the pebble spooned in the deep clearness.
What has the horse at the starting gate chewed?
My hat and my pipe- a warm day for it-
My tie is much too warm for attire,
My passing time with them by the water.
Lead us to water once more, they now say;
This time by the light of a cooler day,
Their thirst is quenched by my quiet smile,
A book in my hands and they friendly sip.

But they won’t have a drop of the water,
     They shall sip the shadowed rays of my eyes.



XXV
The night shall in the morn evaporate,
The mist is with my eyes awakening,
I am splendid in my morning shower,
But to where have all our words departed?
You ache to share a secret with my ear,
You quietly mourn your own misgivings,
Gentle chiding of your patience, I say
We are the eternal truth turned backwards.
Your eyes are mists through your morning shower,
We depart from our place to find the sun,
The dark cloud cover eclipses it yet,
But we hear day sounds on the radio.
It is a warm August, July or June;
     And we long for once solaced desire.

XXVI
Say these words at last with me, Athena,
We’ll have a quiet night as we recite;
Reminding ourselves of the ancient song,
The last of our passion, prayer now known.
We range to Parnassus, now past the clouds,
Toward the stars at night, the changing tide,
Despite a secret grove by lake of sheen,
A part of these words we each of us say.
O Athena, answer me! Answer now,
The one-two-three-four splendour of it all;
At the source of the Spring our solemn words
Yet reach for the sky as good orisons.

For Pallas, keeping these words between us,
     We’ve yet to proclaim ourselves to the night.


 Wisdom Songs

  XXVII
There's no more life for this corrupted weed,
It’s gnashed by a blade and power triumphs,
And yet I love it more than spring flowers
That call to me your face and my failure.
I shall plough the land and then thresh the wheat,
I shall a mighty stake on my words stand,
By spade and rake wherewith I force my words
Over you, Pallas, a new sovereign field.
War waged among the haters and hated:
The laughing stalks, the green rushes, the hedge,
The ambushed lilies at the water's edge;
Without arms weeds survive hands delicate.
     For you are hill and dale and green and great,
     And growing words now stand beside your gate.

XXVIII
I am sad in the sunshine and the clouds,
I am unhappy in the sulky rain,
I am unlucky in the four seasons,
May I rise above misfortune today.
Rise up with the unhappy sun and clouds,
Lay down in the grey sheets my sulky rain,
Reign in the power of the four seasons,
May I rise above misfortune today.
You know the secret of seasons' powers,
You have watched the sunshine and clouds and rain,
You have seen the price of the life cycle,
You know, Athena, Fortune's turning wheel.
You know, Athena, Fortune's turning wheel,
     Toward you I turn and count my blessings.

  XXIX
You are a just thing in an unjust world;
They live in arrogance and desire.
I have one desire of mortality,
To see while I am able your just form.
Try me by the rule of the highest court,
You'll find I plead guilty to desire,
The desire of voice and ears and eyes
To witness in life your heavenly form.
If I have legs to, I shall walk to you,
If I have arms to reach and hands to hold,
And eyes and ears and a voice to tell you,
Let me dwell here in this world on your form.
     The forms of the others should not please you,
     They shall die. And when they die you live on.



XXX
I have seen your eyes and now my seeing,
I have heard your voice and now my calling,
I have walked beside you as one touching,
I have rendered my words for the taking.
I have sensed the towers of your powers,
I have read the message in your orbits,
I’ve studied your substance minutely,
But you’re unextended and motionless.
You are indivisible in your space,
You do not change or act or permutate
Except by my own eyes, my voice, my words.
Take you exception to what’s unfolding?
You give me a constant sense of meaning,
     Your immutability, Athena.


XXXI
I am beauty, but more I am lasting,
Not to die the mortal death but to live,
While I shed and I moult in the weather,
I refresh and restore, renew my skin.
I shut out lies and arrogance and sin;
I, in the coldness of mid December,
There are blooms sewn in my eyes and my cheeks,
And glistening rain makes for brighter fire.
You’ve no one else than me to inspire,
And I, though I in another pasture,
I think this thing in short February:
Although I’m very good, I’m very wrong.
     I’ll wrong you tomorrow and on as well;
     It's just as well you are forever there.






XXXII
Though I am broken, bent, lifeless, and deaf,
I hear your voice calling me to come home;
I’m strong in the storm that seeks to slow me,
I am a straightedge with lines straight to you.
Though I am broken and my art is torn,
You see no loss before you but a prize,
A hunt for a trophy has ended me.
You, wanting a direction to find me.
I sit over your mantel with waxed horns,
My lifeless eyes, the ruin of my cast;
I am hungry for what has tempted you,
To track you and chase you and then your death.
     Me, wanting a direction to find you,
     By our mantels we wonder at our deeds.

XXXIII
I've looked a long, hard look at life and death,
I've weighed the outcome of each on my scale,
Lest my measure be light I have rechecked,
Lest my choice be grave I have profited.
Lest my shadow be too short or too long,
Lest my hands be weighed too heavy with sacks,
Or my promise falsely made for pleasure,
I have cast my figure in the mirror.
I've straightened my tie in the looking-glass,
I've combed my hair in the recess of life,
I've shaken my fist at the razor blade,
All in the need to weigh my dire choice.

Now in a dark moment I weigh my choice,
    And I shall always choose another day.






XXXIV

You are wretched, wasted, and blatant scum,
You are unclean waste on the dirty floor,
You are the worst goddess I've ever known,
You are, I love you, so I must go on.
How many of us now live in this world?
As many as drops in the ocean spray?
So you cannot take much kindly on me,
When you say I’m the worst, I have brethren.
You lift me up. Oh, you lift me straight up.
I follow your high-minded, warm embrace.
You lead me past the clouds into the night,
I sleep by a star when I sleep by you.
     My brethren, wretched Homo Sapiens,
    This is the way to these full points of light.

  XXXV
I saw you truly with my own mind's eye,
I see you everywhere. We walk alone;
We walk in streets; deserted, the city.
We walk together in the Temple.
I see you truly; you do not despise
The certainty in my eyes when with me.
Your hand slips from your glove to please my hand,
Your hand then even overflows my own.
Your hand has just slipped from your glove to mine,
I press you for an arm around the waist,
Speaking to me, Pallas, a moral told:
Worth is a caterpillar on the vine.
Worth your hand. Yet even then we pass by
    A late leaf, remembering this, ourselves.

XXXVI

I have seen your smile and gave praises,
Your eyes are lights and I have described them,
Your voice is dew and I have said it’s so,
I have seen you and addressed you these words.
You have heard in the silence my soundings,
You have seen in the darkness my citing,
You’ve given in the absence, receiving,
I am not without thankfulness for this.
But I am now silenced by your powers,
I am blinded by these your good graces,
I am deafened by these my mutterings,
I've fallen to the wayside of this life.
I shall speak out all of my thoughts to you,
     Unseen, Pallas, in everlasting night.





               Thanksgivings
XXXVII
You have heard all my troubles in your ear,
You have seen what I cower from and flee,
You shall soothe my frightened thoughts abounding,
There shall be no more shame and blame and fear.
My enemies shall perish by your word,
They shall turn from happiness to sorrow,
There shall be the truth of law on their tongues,
And they shall taste the sour punishment.
I ask for you to heal my broken heart,
I tell you my flesh is pale and lifeless;
My dark remembrance of a bloody past
Makes me despair of the present danger.

You have heard all my troubles in your ear,
     I ask you to stop and yet you stop me.

XXXVIII

Mark well that I have served you on this day;
This, in keeping with my promise to you;
You have sent me wandering and I’m back
To deliver who comprehends your law.
From out of the haze the little bird flies,
From out of the sea there came the Titans,
From out of the day comes this one hour,
This hour of life has all richness, strength.
By your very strength I show myself strong,
By your fearlessness am I not fearless?
By your riches am I not the most rich?
By your truth I am undeniable.
     Athena, I shall remember your law,
And by precedence I shall become great.


XXXIX

You run the gentle waters of my bath,
Undress the tearing work and harsh fabrics,
You oil the waters of my warm bath,
I am submerged in the filth of toil.
You scrub the black soot which covers my shell,
The ocean has torn out my ligaments;
You drift the mean creature of my tossed shell,
I am submerged beneath my broken house.
You are running the warm waters of warmth,
My adversaries say I’m weakening;
I enter my gentle and fragrant bath;
Because I am naked, none dare touch me.
     They rise like the steam, they rise like the steam,
     And I am gazing at you through water.

XL
We know the simple truth that confounds men
Who seek to unravel the world in threads;
Our words are for the whole that they dissect
Into sinew, tissue and scraps, and threads.
They are the fools and we are their lieges,
They are our dupes and we are bemused by
High priests and priestesses of oracles,
Who feel in the dark and find many things.
We're pleasant toward these men and women,
We show them by example yet they fail;
They never understand our questioning,
And we must pay for their foolish errors.
     The way we pay when we are together,
     They try to cleave us, though we cleave to each.

Songs Of Athens

  XLI
We are mining the silver in our land,
It is for pressing between these twin leaves,
We’re placing our lives in each other’s hands,
They are for building our powerful fleet.
For we see the unquestionable sea.
Despite foul weather I’ll follow your pace,
Your trireme is made of your good metal,
Whose fine lustre ranks next only to gold.
We are pressed, you and I, here in this world:
Pressed for our great malleability,
And then pressed for our great ductility,
By those who’d rather ornaments and toys.
     But you have more wisdom, who, by your craft,
     Have pressed me for my impervious leaf.





  XLII
You are the calm about my troubled seas,
You are my ship and my hopeful passage;
I call to you and I thirst no longer,
You answer with a line from your ship's prow.
Who almost drowned now sleeps upon your deck,
I wake and rise under your warm covers;
You are not afraid of the violent sea
That surrounds us and tries to cover us.
Into the deep, above the black waters,
You smite the angry tide, with your brave keel;
You break the backs of the fierce, wicked waves.
Freedom for us! You are our great tall ship.
     We see the ocean spray around our ship,
     Rising, surging, saying, "You are not strong.”


           XLIII

See the laurel wreath crowning me, Pallas;
It shall be small leaves and tiny flowers.
Here in the good pasture, here grow the vines,
The words of the laws of the land blossom.
I shall wash away the land of wicked,
As spring rain washes the earth of decay,
As summer washes the fruit of the tree,
As autumn soon baskets the crowning wreath.
Trouble shall not avail, nor stem from root;
Hate shall not; nor petal pout at the bee;
Wrath shall cool, my tripod shall entreat you,
A multitude of joys on the bee's knee.
     See my wreath, Athena, this hallowed day,
     For night shall not disturb me ever more.

XLIV
I am making the righteous heirs to joy,
I am punishing the wicked who flee,
I am making those meek, and the weak free,
Carefully I create a lasting peace.
Now there shall be no more fights in the streets,
Now there shall be no death in the traffic;
This, in keeping with my prayer to you,
This, for us both, I now promise to you.
Put aside your misgivings, Athena,
Overcome doubts for true purpose laid bare;
These were the words you knew and respected,
My rites of longing in consequence.

It shall be me who ensures just living,
     Lest you remind me, I’m only a man.






  XLV
If I die this night, my dying lives me;
I shall live in the future certainly.
The future shall speak of who I have been,
And I won't care if I suffer again.
You’re my enemy, a blade at my throat,
Though I bid you the trouble of murder.
The knife you point with a hand shall crumble
An arm, body, heart, legs and feet- that's all.
You shall remember my name for what comes,
You shall remember my deed to unborn,
You shall muster the name of polemarch,
I shall suffer no more from on this day.

If I die this night, my dying lives me,
     There shall be no more shame and blame and fear.

XLVI
Your city is calling through the traffic,
Your c ity hides the tall, giant buildings,
Your city ever shrouds your mysteries,
In your city no one but I am free.
None save I shall build the great skyscrapers,
None save I shall pave the long asphalt roads,
For I make this city my sacrifice,
As I, through the tunnels, in subways move.
I am a citizen at the limits,
I strut to survive in my ruined house;
You lift me up; once more, you lift me up,
Take the elevator up to the world.

I shall make an offering of numbers;
     Numbers and lights, walls, and a sliding door.

XLVII
You are good, the most good of all ethics:
The dilemmas do not suffer a choice;
My passions arouse no wrong suspicion.
Our words- is not this prayer among us?
Our words' orisons are oratories,
And morn the dewy promise of our day;
To poorness of heart and mind speak kindly,
The crimes of the wicked ones we prevent.
What has tempted me to sorrow is gone;
What trial I fell through has acquitted.
No sensations of longing, frenzy, fear,
Accompany reflection and quiet.
I shall walk to you, softly to your side,
     Today's our dancing day and we preside.







   XLVIII
I said a prayer that you just have heard.
If my prayer has had meaning to you,
Its sense has been your answering to me;
What we two have shared is for us to keep.
O Athens! Now I’ve come to speak to you,
And long for consequence to our day,
Hear the oracle with misgivings done,
Then hear further with mixed feelings gone.
The prayer heard is what has now become
The consequence for all of us to take,
And hereafter heard by our tradition;
And hereafter in our celebration,

When all misgivings shall be overcome,
     My prayer shall be a less urgent one.
[Amen.