This week's meta-theme: the Mediterranean.
(Poem #296) Footsteps
On an ebony bed decorated with coral eagles, sound asleep lies Nero --- unconscious, quiet, and blissful; thriving in the vigor of flesh, and in the splendid power of youth. But in the alabaster hall that encloses the ancient shrine of the Aenobarbi how restive are his Lares. The little household gods tremble, and try to hide their insignificant bodies. For they heard a horrible clamor, a deathly clamor ascending the stairs, iron footsteps rattling the stairs. And now in a faint the miserable Lares, burrow in the depth of the shrine, one tumbles and stumbles upon the other, one little god falls over the other for they understand what sort of clamor this is, they are already feeling the footsteps of the Furies.
[Notes] Aenobarbi: Nero belonged to that family. Lares Familiares: Household gods of the Romans, probably spirits of the ancestors, worshipped at a shrine by the house hearth. Furies: In Greek and Roman mythology, the three terrible female spirits with snaky hair (Alecto, Tisiphone, and Megaera) who punished the doers of unavenged crimes; also called Erinyes. [Minstrels Links] Cavafy's most famous poem is the wonderful 'Ithaka', which you can read at poem #217 [On the theme] I've been reading a fair bit about the Mediterranean lately - the usual Theroux travelogue (just finished), Durrell's famous quartet (just started), a biography of Lear, that sort of stuff - and I was struck by the incredible richness of its heritage... like a palimpsest , each place on its storied coast hides layers upon layers of history and culture. Why, just look at Alexandria - Pharaonic Egypt, Phoenician traders, Greek conquerors (and scholars - think of the Library!), eighteen generations of Ptolemies, Roman generals, crypto-Judaic and Messianic cults, proto-Christianity, Arab invaders, Moors and Tuaregs, Caliphs and Khedives, French canal-builders and German diplomats, Pashas, Ottomans and Sahibs in solar topis... Sorry about that digression - I guess I got slightly carried away :-). Anyway, regarding the theme: my last poem (Belloc's 'Tarantella') gave me the idea; and so this week I'll be running a set of poems (slash poets) connected in some or the other to the 'middle of the world'. Enjoy! thomas.  beautiful word, that :-)