by Siegfried Sassoon
Observe these blue solemnities of sky
Offering for the academes of after-ages
A mythologic welkin freaked with white!
Listen : one tiny tinkling rivulet
Accentuates the super-sultry stillness
That drones on ripening landscapes which imply
Serene Parnassus plagued with amorous goats.
* * * *
Far down the vale Apollo has pursued
The noon-bedazzled nymph whose hunted heart
Holds but the trampling panic whence it fled,
And now the heavens are piled with darkening trouble
And counter-march of clouds that troop intent
Fire-crested into conflict.
At the wood's edge in bronze and olive gloom:
Sickness assails the sun whose blazing disc
Dwindles : the Eden of those auburn slopes
Lours in the tarnished copper of eclipse.
Yet virgin in her god-impelled approach
To Graeco-Roman ravishment, she waits
While the unsated python slides to crush
Her lust-eluding fleetness. Envious Jove
Rumbles Olympus. All the classic world
Leans breathless toward the legend she creates.
From thunderous vapour smites the immortal beam . . .
Then, crowned with fangs of foliage, flames the god.
* * * *
" Apollo ! " ... Up the autumn valley echoes
A hollow shout from nowhere. Daphne's limbs
Lapse into laureldom : green-shadowed flesh
Writhes aborescent; glamour obscures her gaze
With blind and bossed distortion. She escapes.
Last updated January 14, 2019