Tuesday, August 16, 2016

He Died His Own Death

"In some modern works, Darius' phrasing is erroneously translated to the effect that Cambyses committed suicide. . . . The ambiguity lies in . . . such drab wording."

Forever back into the earth
That holds nothing of forever,
That is a pebble spinning round
A moderate star on the arm

Of an undistinguished spiral,
He vanished. First, he discovered
An abandoned house in the woods.
A small gray man with a long beard

Appeared and began choking him.
He looked around and saw a sword.
Suddenly the sword fell right down
Into his hands. He beheaded

His attacker. Then a giant
Who had three heads came at him.
He chopped off all three at one stroke.
And so he was the last person

Left underground. He found a staff
Of ironwood. Tapping it, he
Emerged from the mountain and strode
Into town, where he apprenticed

With a goldsmith. In the morning
He produced an exquisite crown
And dropped it off with the goldsmith.
Exactly the same thing happened

Again and again. He summoned
The king, who then gave him the hand
Of his youngest daughter, as well
As the kingdom he took with him.

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