The crow speaks of Apollon
Look at me: My feathers once were white,
Purer than the dove’s, and drenched
With goddess Iris’ colors. Now I am
Black as soot, with only a flicker
Of iridescence, my song changed
To a squawk, my food carrion and
Scraps. Why? Because I told the truth:
Koronis lay with Iskhys when already
Full with Apollon’s child. The Far-Shooter
Sent his sister to punish the guilty,
In spite withholding his own arrows.
He punished the messenger, too,
And changed my colors and my voice.
Yet still I tell the truth, even when
Nobody asks it of me, and in that way,
Unthanked though I may be,
I am Apollon’s faithful servant still.
Kyrene speaks of Apollon
He never asked me to be anything different–
He alone, the god, not my father, mother, suitors,
Not my sisters, not random passers-by–only the god
Was pleased with who and what I was.
Shepherdess, huntress, princess
Who refused to weave and spin
Or bear the cup and flatter visitors
Or stay indoors while wind blew and sun shone
And the river swelled its banks
Between fields of flowers.
With one end of my spear
I nudged the sheep along,
And with the other
I drove off lions, wolves, wild dogs,
Yes, and two-legged thieves,
Men, and the crows and eagles
Who can carry off a new-born lamb.
He came to me in the wild, away
From the stifling palace halls,
Where I stood in a coarse tunic,
My hair unbound, leaning on my spear,
And shone into my darkness
While the sheep grazed in peace,
Untroubled by theophany.
Proudly I lay in Apollon’s arms,
Proudly I bore his son, of whom
I am also proud: My Aristaios,
Hunter, shepherd, and friend of bees.
To me the bright god was as sweet
As the honeycomb in my child’s hands.
The votary speaks of Apollon
He is a distant god, and my instinct
is to keep my distance from him.
Too close an approach to the sun
And you’ll be blinded, then burnt
To nothing. His love is a laser,
A concentration too fierce to bear.
Yet he allures, playing and singing
So that the Muses dance, and mortal
Creativity stirs to the rhythm
Of their pounding feet. Yet he allures,
Golden and flawless, wiser than
His youthful looks, not only a poet,
But a prophet and philosopher, too.
I stand aside, even as I mean
To draw closer to him, and admire
Others’ devotion even as I fear his regard.