The cufflink-sleeved, dust-jacket scholar,
Moth-thoughts fluttering in their coffer,
Surrounded in books, not bottles,
Binges on the glue of leather bind.
Horizons crammed in high-stacked shelves –
Blurred as well-scanned lines,
Settle like dust on Latinized spines.
Zeal like the Phoenix: rising inspired
From ashtray cremation; put to bed
In mounds of Doric pillows befitting invalids.
Scholastic quest fogged in yawning;
Doctorate for life but Titanic Time,
Old Cronos, is not on his side – aei
anagignoskomen, aei manthanomen,
aei legomen peri hu manthanomen,1
The motto of his rout – never enough:
A dream past made from modern stuff.
Cigarette smoke dreams of Ganymede,
Fog-formed iron-shade faces, horse-hair plumes –
A philobiblos kai akoluthos2 of Homeric deed;
A past of face to face feuds, far removed
From this time of trivial privacies
Where kudos the dice decides who deals
Cards of Promethean calculation, not chance.
No serendipity at dusty distance.
Rarely replenished by fruits of research –
Relates to us his stories as Herodotus did
– By word of mouth. Brow engrains beige of age,
As an ancient; thumb burnt by turning the page.
That past, that Golden Age, his Ganymede,
He steals far-off where fantasy scrimps its need,
Leaving trace of more lines time’s chisel sculpts
In a pupil-blank marble face.
His brain’s papyri sponges
Brass-rubbing dust of age –
Stuffy, crumbly thoughts
Dodder off to burn the page.
Visit Alan Morrison’s Web site at http://www.alanmorrison.moonfruit.com
Read Morrison’s new literary ezine, the Recusant, at http://www.therecusant.moonfruit.com