so by degrees the winter of dark death
entered her heart and chocked her breath and stopped
the lanes of life.
–Ovid, Metamorphoses, Bk 2
The grasping greed of her! Peerless her beauty, flawless, iconic, numinous. Oh, aye, god-touched, god-touched, indeed! No walls thick enough to muffle that endless groaning, those orgastic wails that echoed and re-echoed from her bedchamber. Night after night, thump of mattress, shriek of springs, and I, sat as sentinel outside that flagrant door! Curled his hair and damp when he emerged, reeking of almond flowers and tidal waves, sly his smile. “A fine guardian, to be sure.” Mockery! He who mocked at everything, who was born throwing figs at an outraged sky, mocked our thwarted dignity, our ravished pride.
And she came slinking after, low-slung her hips, feline her smile in its satisfaction. Bandy-legged, breathless, stuck to the sheets of a morning, reeking of his touch, of ambrosia and god-sweat. How high she carried her tail at his regard. “Take these his sandals, o beloved, o my sister, and his golden hat, and his high-bouncing rod, and keep them safe.” Safe! What thief would dare?
And what for me? For my unregarded and disdained vigil? Creeping stone-touch, cold immortality; this watch unending and this rage undying. A stone’s heart, indeed, for a stone’s true heart is fire and constant movement, and all the fury of gravity suspended.