Where is Apollo Now?

by Liz Bourke

Thessaloniki, Greece
8 September, 2010

Where is Apollo now?
Wheeling an arc across the immortal sky,
in the silence of dead tongues,
old languages stopped up in your mouth?
Shining Apollo comes to heel,
the master of oracles leashed and bound
to the gaseous furnace of our scientific sun.
A poet's god, laurel-wreathed,
bright and terrible and foundered by the years.

I will not tell you to begin anew.
This is our beginning. Our oracles
are satellite images, our auguries
mass spectrometers and the echoes
of exoplanets drifting in the void.

And where is Apollo, with his lyre and his spear?
Have we sung the gods to silence
and outshone the brightest star,
so far removed from the memory
of that dreaming darkness,
the seamless night of the first world,
where gods spoke in the water and the dust
and the barque of the descending sun?
And where is Leto's shining son?
Where is Apollo now?

Liz Bourke is presently reading for a postgraduate degree in Classics at Trinity College, Dublin. Her copious spare time is occupied by reading other books, falling off walls, and drinking tea. Not all at the same time.

When asked of what poem the word "cherry" immediately made her think, she replied as follows: "'Cherry,' isn't, unfortunately, a word which brings immediately to mind any associations — except for some rather unrepeatable doggerel and a truly bad limerick. (Don't ask.) Fortunately, I have some of Robert Graves' poems open right here beside me, and his "Cherry-Time" might be slightly more repeatable. Cherries of the night are riper, it starts, Than the cherries pluckt at noon."

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