I'd call this place hell


if it didn't sound so final.


I prefer: The Underworld:


awe clapping its great wings about our heads.


My daughter read the hero's name without ever


having heard it said:


Useless, she informed us, blinded the Cyclops.


Useless: that's a name he might have liked,


next to Nobody, next to Walk-through-the-fires-of-the-dead.


First things first, he learned, usefully.


Back to the living,


the false world, the changing one


where customs differ,


but where everyone wants certainty to last.


So, much later, a poet wrote of an infant god


whirling in flames:


Poor Robert Southwell, first strung up,


next gutted, then beheaded.

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