THE CAVE OF ANDROUTSOS
Reaching far back in darkness the cave appears
To be a small blind hole, a mouth that sneers,
An eye half closed. Slow horsemen out of range
Make spurts of dust, which settle and then change
To echoing gunshots. In early light the plain
Mists and becomes the sea, or gleams with rain,
Alters its features, twists its trees with snow,
Then blossoms red in villages below.
The cave stares blankly down, surrounded by
The hard immensities of stone and sky.
A cave makes images. Inside the frame
A bearded man sits motionless: his name
Is Edward John Trelawney. He is not
Posing it seems, for he has just been shot
Twice from behind, once shattering his jaw.
His teeth and blood lie here on the cave floor,
And there his would-
Pain fills the cave, reviving in his head
The recent corpses of his friends, the pyre
Of Shelley and a heart snatched from the fire,
And Byron’s body viewed beneath the sheet,
That white Adonis with wry satyr feet.
He leans against a stone and there he stays
Biding his injuries for twenty days.
A world of light throws shadows on the wall
Whose rock itself is hollow. It is a small
Find from the start to know that there are few
Versions inside which are entirely true.
Ice splits the cliffs, stones fall, sparse flowers bloom;
A man sits writing in a high old room.
Fierce heart, old brigand, fiction takes you in:
The broken mouth stays open in a grin.
|The Cave of Androutsos|
|No Place Like It|
|Byron's Albanian Costume|
|Visiting the Great Tree|