Sunday, January 16, 2011

Aeschylus Poem

So heaven strikes.
Zeus is patient-
His law is obscure,
Roundabout, but
None can escape it.

Let nobody tell you
Heaven ignores
The desecrator
Who mocks and defiles
The holy things-

For they are wrong.
The conceited man
With his lofty scheme
Ruins himself
And everybody near him.

The house where wealth
Cracks the foundations
With its sheer weight
Is a prison
Whose owner dies
In solitary.

What is enough?
Who knows? Once
A man in the stupor
Of wealth and pride
Has broken heaven's law
And kicked over
the altar of justice
It is too late.

Voluptuous promises,
Crystalline logic,
Caressing assurances
Lead him, the slave
Of his own destruction.

While guilt burns
Like a fixed star
The sleepless man
Feels his blood
And the light of his eye
Drained and replaced
By a kind of filth.

Running after pleasure,
Thoughtless, careless
As a boy
Chasing a bird.
He ruins his people.
He prays, but the gods
Are bedrock rock.
And men who pity him
Share his fate.

- Excerpt from "The Oresteia"