Of the Myths and the Ruins (2018) deliberates ancient archetypes concerning war and loss in re-invented scenes from Greek mythology as encountered in the museums of contemporary Athens, plus an accompanying poem.
Of the myths and the ruins––
And of the uncertain oracles with which we address the future––
Of the ancient priest and the vanished processions––
And of the ceremonies, the treasuries, the vapors and the sacred way, all disappeared––
Of the listener without premonition––
And of the blood no longer pardoning the supplicants––
Of the bones that once caged the souls––
And of the wind that sweeps away losing––
Of the house and the childtouch––
And of the clinging leaves that suffer the falling rock––
Of the lightning that strikes without seeking, and the branches that move unsought––
And of every hour flashing the unpolished surface––
Of the nothing that confronts the image––
And of the nerve that vibrates the mothertongue––
Of the tent and the woman in the tent, the ancient mother––
And of the eons of her hiding––
Of the savage face on the shield––
And of the lithic fissure and the destitute age––
Of the unlit room in which the miracles are judged––
And of the appalling poem that wakes us from sleep––
Of the present, even when we speak of the abyss––
And of the abyss, burning its way through transparent day, toward lamplight––
Of the single direction, which can only be called through––
And of the martyrs who fail to manage excessive talent at dying––
Of the trees in bloom and in filth, and the feathers caked in dirt––
And of the gardens too dark to find, not fooling me with their blossoms––
Of the hungry ghosts which keep finding their way––
And of the seed, and the homestone less and smaller than home––
Of the earth that drags me, bears me forward––
And of the words too straightened and meaning-smoothed, too newly cast into pictures––
Of the strangers and their monuments, which fences fail to enclose––
And of the angels, whose saturnalia seems like bonejoy––
Of the soul that is pure when given and impure when given back––
And of the ego that mistakes pure soul as essence––
(From porchlight there are neighbors and wandering foreigners––
And thinking is enough until low noon, whence only memory––)
(And from six thousand couplets only one survives, or one half––
The same with tears not quite born into weeping––)
Of the underground where no sun rises, and of its moon––
And of the dry place of dwelling where so little is said of love––
Of the promises taken from the drawer, and returned––
And of every month in the solitary room, no matter where I end up dying––
Of the ill sight of my body reborn into this world––
And of my pictures not created to burn in fire, rather in oblivion––
Of the whole of this world in its totality of zero, though counting for more––
And of whatever lasts from nothing to nothing––
Of the nuclei blinking, and of suddenness––
And of the hands holding the eye loose and high into seeing––
                                                                                     Jason Francisco, Athens 2018