A Poem by Gerry Murphy
after Apoionius Rhodius
It was during that sea-grey hour
when darkness seems ready to yield the horizon
to the push of impending day.
We reached the deserted island of Thynias
and clambered down exhausted
onto the welcoming shore,
our hearts at last beginning to lighten.
As if on cue, Apollo, on his way
from Lycia to the slumbering haunts
of those innumerable Hyperboreans,
appeared over our heads.
In his left hand the silver bow,
on his shoulder the full quiver of arrows,
his golden hair framing
his immortal face.
Those of us who saw him
felt a sudden, uncontrollable dismay
and burst into tears.
The whole island trembled
beneath our feet as he passed
and the sea swelled
and crashed onto the beach.
None of us dared to look at him directly:
we stood stock-still, heads bowed,
until he vanished into the brightening distance.
poems by Gerry Murphy )