Melicertes Washes Ashore

O, poor my mother! A jealous face above the waves, a harsh word to kith and kin, a strident tongue… from earliest days discontent she bore, and envy, and eke spite, from first blood to last… How dim are grown my mortal days when seen through these crystal-green waves! But still I remember, for I remember all things, and bear all things, as does the sea above, my sea-home, my blessed rest. Ill luck had she with children, and with motherhood. Not for such tenderness was she birthed.

Her sister she drove to destruction, that flash of numina upon the desert heights, and in remorse bore her sister’s child-my-uncle safe through childhood, gowned in dresses, washed in curls, hidden thus from his father’s wife. Her step-children too she hated, and would have given to these darkling deeps, to moulder here where none is forgotten, but for that soaring fleece, that suckling lamb. O that poisoned love! O that wild raving!

And so my life. Washed in scalding water, dashed among the waves, a nine-days child, down here among the reeds and the memories… sport of dolphins. They merry my graveside, there upon the shore where King Cannibal ruled, with games and revelry, and call me newly — Palaemon! — with blood of beves, with unmixed wine, but what are these to me? More solemn rites are kept here among the wrack, and wilder revel among the blind, and sweet is this salted sea… O, poor my mother! O, Leucothea!