The woods decay the woods decay and fall Libus sitting near Alcaeus quoted his

The woods decay the woods decay and fall libus

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The woods decay, the woods decay and fall... Libus, sitting near Alcaeus, quoted his favorite, huddling in his robe, his face averted: Alone, in sea-circled Delos, while round on beach and cove, before the piping sea wind the dark blue storm waves drove... 109
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Voices from the Past “Why do you break off?” I asked. He did not answer but said: “They knew, those ancients, how to supplicate the lowliest...they preferred the virginal...snowy peaks...whispering groves...the hunting cry...” Warming my feet on a warming stone, I said I preferred the golden hymn and repeated fragments... Long are their ways of living, honey in their bread, and in their dances their footsteps twirl, twirling light... ( Fragment of talk: “We can’t marry, unless we have a child...you’ll be twenty- three soon...it must be like that...my house is a house of women...” I thought of those words as I passed Phaon’s house, beyond the wharf, isolated. As I passed, waves climbed its base, licking at boulders. Its walls are thicker than most, cracked and mottled. I used to be afraid of that house as a girl and as I passed these thoughts brought back some of that apprehension. I glanced at the seaward balcony, tottering on wasted beams, painted years ago. Seagulls squatted on the flat roof, as they have day in and day out. There are five rooms underneath those tiles and his mother and uncle lived and died there, a harsh struggle in rooms of simple furnishings, coils of rope, nets, brass fittings and bronze anchors. Phaon lives there with two men, their servants and a hanger-on. Kleis visits occasionally. A parrot, some say nearly two hundred years old, gabbles sayings and fills the sea- sopped silences. 110
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Sappho’s Journal Y ES , HIS HOUSE TROUBLES ME ITS DARKNESS , ITS EVOCATION OF POVERTY AND MY OWN EXILE . ( While I was ill, Libus cared for me, the mastery of his hands relieving pain. By my bed, talking soothing talk, he brought gradual relief, just as two years ago. His hands are more than hands, it seems. Magical masseur, he explores yet never gropes: his fingers, padded at the tips, press, release, wait. Our friendship, with all its confidences, in spite of differences, weathers the years and is stronger at such a time, under his mastery. As he obliterates pain, he blinks absently or smiles his pale smile, withdrawn yet assuring. He learned his art from a young Alexandrian, a man he met while studying in Athens, who spoke many desert languages. “I’d like to see him again. I’ve learned something through my own experiments; we would share. Of course, he’s a great man.” And when I asked Libus about my illness, he said: “Too much work, too much rich food, too much concern. You haven’t been using common sense.” I didn’t care for this and said: “I know from what Alcaeus says, you help him more than anyone. You can help me.” “I’m not able to help him all the time.” “You mean his drinking?” He shrugged.
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