Saturday, November 5, 2016

Rob Schackne #140, Mousai #5 - Melpomenê


I am Melpomenê, I wear the cothurnus
I honor Artemis, increase my stature upon the stage
Give me a mask to bring us the audience
Remind us that great men wear their own masks
Remind us of yet more tragedy and woe
It stands before the audience, aieeee!

Appeal to Apollo, God of Light
When you misjudge your step
He shows you wisdom before the drop
Gives eloquence, takes reason − and kills you
You squandered your best mortal chance
You looked back over your shoulder

No wonder it’s the world’s great fear
Speaking vacantly in public before strangers
Staring without inspiration
Stuttering after a wish list of words
Sorrow coming crashing, vision dimmed
No applause, no applause − then the laughter

When you carry the heavy club of Herakles
Even climbing up to the stage is hard
Even if the divinity of wine slows your feet
The mask will protect all foolishness
While you declaim glory and awe and terror
It is never more than the middle of the week.

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