Conversation with Vesta

The Tambourine Player by Charles-Émile-Hippolyte Lecomte-Vernet | Joseph Friedman Ltd.

And they once told you it was too late—
You watch the fire talking, telling you
“Dance! Bang drums, Climb walls! Don’t stop!”
You must respect remarks from virgin goddesses
Who stare at you past leftover bacchanalia
That you had thought you could control
But know the helplessness of truth.

It was in another’s dream: the Hunters
And dogs had chased the stag into water,
Then looked up at where the other gods
Staring down at them from the tree tops
Pointed with their lips towards a cave
(They’re funny in that way, these dream gods)
And going in they saw the goddess, crudely carved
Asking where everybody went. She blamed
The new Virgin, and the kid with the curly locks
In the stone building on top of the hill.

The Hunters were of a different past from hers
And couldn’t understand her words — they shrugged
And caught the deer and neglected the future.


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