In one poem (“The Double-Goer”) Daryl Hine writes “Manifold are the disguises of our love.” That should prepare us for the intriguing passage in “Osiris Remembered”
Once Orpheus had turned his back upon
The saddest and the palest of shades
And tuned his hymn of praise to the homosexual sun,
He strolled amid the adolescent glades
That moved beside the streams that ceased to run
To music, Dionysus’ weakest reeds
Are women. Alas, with them have glades and music gone.
“Homosexual sun” was what caught my eye. And then the retreat from music and the going of the women behind that epithet of weakness. Music, women and even the glades where he walked are gone. Of course our singer is gone too. In legend’s lore those weak reeds spurned by the poet exact their wrath but Ovid’s descendant treats the reader to a freeze frame moment before the final demise.
The slant tone is caught again in “The Destruction of Sodom” which concludes in a turning-cheek invocation that asks for forgiveness but not deliverance.
Number your vices in imagination:
Would they teach whole cities of perversion?
Forgive us our bodies, forgive us our bodies’ uses.
The irony is relished when one retraces one’s steps and reads the beginning:
One would never suspect there were so many vices.
It is, I think, a tribute to the imagination
Of those who in these eminently destructible cities
Have made an exact science of perversion
That they, like us, limited by their bodies
Could put those bodies to such various uses.
And then there is the sauciness of the tenth of the “Fourteen Aphorisms in the Same Vein”
A definition of depravity:
What the imagination’s suavity
Than the simple need to fill a cavity.
Audacious rhymes. Witty.
Daryl Hine. The Devil’s Picture Book (1960).
And so for day 1106