Burt / BIO
AFTER CALLIMACHUS (AETIA, Book 4, frag. 112: epilogue)
My Muses, my Graces, I’m tired.
My teachers, who told me you would reward
my service, told the truth.
You paid my electric bill. You brought me fresh fruit.
You gave me patience while I tuned
that much-strung, much-plucked lyre.
I brought you roses, and songs
and stories from my country; I began
with the history of the gods, and with explanations
of why things are the way they are,
and when you got bored, I pretended the clouds
and made up antagonists shepherds could overcome.
But now that’s done.
I know that everything’s political,
but I need a break
from shepherds and flocks and pastures, from gods founding cities
and heroes and orators and gullible crowds.
We love and admire you, Muse
of history, whose sisters met Hesiod
under the sign of the horse: please take
a vacation, and come back
to us in better health,
or at least with good news.
We admire you, too, holy lord of lords, great Zeus,
who looks after our great leaders in peace and war,
or at least protects the incumbent.
My friends and I need more
time to ourselves: we might just walk around
in one of our tiny gardens and chat about words,
and sex, and cuisine, and collectibles, and maybe learn
what the obscure, archaic
phrase “to have fun” meant.