Ariel and the Pythia - pen, ink and graphite on heavy Bristol board - 75x90cm - 2014

 

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Ariel’s first captivation (by the Pythia of Delphi)


Like that! She put out her hand
and plucked me from the air!
Free one moment: the next—
Let me enlighten you.


I was caught by the prophetess; she was the first
to tame me. She never asked hard work of me;
I think I was the companion with whom time
might pleasurably be passed and understood.


And so her prophecies formed the texts
of my instruction on time and all mortality:
Each morning she would take her post, and read
requests for oracles; and answer: I was


her amanuensis, and wrote at her dictate.
I grew to understand the way her mind worked,
and followed the limpidity of her words
as she uttered them. But — and this is true —


the client never understood. Her forewarnings
were opaque until the end could be forestalled no more.
Then, a second too late, they were clear as knives.
She would smile, and let me look deep


into her deep grey eyes. I would spend the night
awake (I do not sleep) lying at her feet,
listening to her gentle breathing. At first light
she would give me my commission:


‘Take this, Ariel, and fly for me,’ she would say,
sealing the envelope. She knew my willingness.
Why am I telling you this? Well, you see,
I learned my educator’s semblance of duplicity.

 

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