This preview shows page 98 - 101 out of 782 pages.
doctors, he...”“Wild boar, to help you get strong.”We recounted the fables, their Persian origin, thecircumstances of their telling. How he loved travelers,especially from the East.I see Aesop on his balcony, the wind making him blink hiseyes; he has on dark blue trousers, yellow sash and goldblouse and carries his doll and is smiling and nodding.Was it his profound understanding of life that made such adifference? He showed breadth of mind at all times.Revealing human character through animal traits, he taughtus the comedy of our faults and aspirations.Alcaeus has begun writing letters, to protest against thisoutrage in Adelphi, to alert friends, to cry out.(High on a hill, I sit and stare at my bare feet and try toguess how many steps they have taken.I peer at my legs and consider the color and texture of myskin. I rub my hands over my knees and ankles.What of Phaon’s feet, the rigging they have climbed andthe decks they have walked?Storms have crashed over him. He has held his ship to sun71
Voices from the Pastand stars, legs spread wide, feet on the planking.Does the sea mean so much to him? Is it his woman?As I watch the arrival of boats in the bay, the unloading atthe dock, I keep remembering his brown face.(The rains have begun.They flood across the mosaic floor of the courtyard,draining noisily.I am weaving a scarf, very white, light in weight, my seat astrip of rawhide on four pegs.Around me the girls sit and chatter. Heptha and Myraweave together, working at one loom, whispering. The rainand wind come together over the house. Laughing secretly,Atthis and Gyrinno dash off, padding through the rain, acrossthe court.Kleis unwinds my ball of thread and keeps paying it outslowly, rhythmically, her hands in time to a song she ishumming to herself.The white wool is restful. I can weave nothingness or I canweave in my whole past, the sea, my house, the cliffs, thetrees.My fingers are Phaon’s.(I have not changed my mother’s house since she diedbecause change is no friend of mine. Occasionally, I have hadto repair or refinish a table, and a chair or picture, but weremama to return tomorrow she would feel at home.I often think that I will meet her, as I go from one room toanother, mama gliding softly, smiling, holding out her warmhands to me...we would sit and weave by the window, the seabeyond, our voices low. With our terra-cotta lamps gleaming,we would talk until late, too sleepy to chat any longer.72
Sappho’s JournalI can’t remember my father, he died so young. His lineage,extending to Agamemnon, frightens me: That inheritancemust carry into these thick walls and the glazed tiles—astrong house.Mama gave me his royal flute, said to be carved from abull’s leg, but it has been years since I have taken it from itssilk-lined box. Its sickly color never pleased me.