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Let Zeus Analysis

Author: poem of H.D. Type: poem Views: 6

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I say, I am quite done,

quite done with this;

you smile your calm

inveterate chill smile

and light steps back;

intolerate loveliness

smiles at the ranks

of obdurate bitterness;

you smile with keen

chiselled and frigid lips;

it seems no evil

ever could have been;

so, on the Parthenon,

like splendour keeps

peril at bay,

facing inviolate dawn.


Men cannot mar you,

women cannot break

your innate strength,

your stark autocracy;

still I will make no plea

for this slight verse;

it outlines simply

Love's authority:

but pardon this,

that in these luminous days,

I re-invoke the dark

to frame your praise;

as one to make a bright room

seem more bright,

stares out deliberate

into Cerberus-night.


Sometimes I chide the manner of your dress;

I want all men to see the grace of you;

I mock your pace, your body's insolence,

thinking that all should praise, while obstinate

you still insist your beauty's gold is clay:

I chide you that you stand not forth entire,

set on bright plinth, intolerably desired;

yet I in turn will cheat, will thwart your whim,

I'll break my thought, weld it to fit your measure

as one who sets a statue on a height

to show where Hyacinth or Pan have been.


When blight lay and the Persian like a scar,

and death was heavy on Athens, plague and war,

you gave me this bright garment and this ring;

I who still kept of wisdom's meagre store

a few rare songs and some philosophising,

offered you these for I had nothing more;

that which both Athens and the Persian mocked

you took, as a cold famished bird takes grain,

blown inland through darkness and withering rain.


Would you prefer myrrh-flower or cyclamen?

I have them, I could spread them out again;

but now for this stark moment while Love breaths

his tentative breath, as dying, yet still lives,

wait as that time you waited tense with me:

others shall love when Athens lives again,

you waited in the agonies of war;

others will praise when all the host proclaims

Athens the perfect; you, when Athens lost,

stood by her; when the dark perfidious host

turned, it was you who pled for her with death.


Stars wheel in purple, yours is not so rare

as Hesperus, nor yet so great a star

as bright Aldebaran or Sirius,

nor yet the stained and brilliant one of War;

stars turn in purple, glorious to the sight;

yours is not gracious as the Pleiads' are

nor as Orion's sapphires, luminous;

yet disenchanted, cold, imperious face,

when all the others, blighted, reel and fall,

your star, steel-set, keeps lone and frigid tryst

to freighted ships, baffled in wind and blast.


None watched with me

who watched his fluttering breath,

none brought white roses,

none the roses red;

many had loved,

had sought him luminous,

when he was blithe

and purple draped his bed;

yet when Love fell

struck down with plague and war,

you lay white myrrh-buds

on the darkened lintel;

you fastened blossom

to the smitten sill;

let Zeus record this,

daring Death to mar.


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