You know, Athena, how grey mornings lengthen,
How stubborn mist obscures the garden's end –
The cold has settled on the bare tree's branches
And overhead the autumn's fury's spent.
The day's short passage is a galleon fading
Beyond the falseness of the smiling reef,
As yet unscathed and fearless of the sea
That, like a leopard waiting, may mean grief:
The far-flung islands' lure, their silent beaches
And stilted towns among the luscious green
Undo the sailors' focus, get them staring
And dreaming of the visions they have seen
In small, dark mirrors in some dingy harbour
That they lay moored in on their risky way,
Small ponds reflecting all they would have wanted,
Their fond destruction, slyly holding sway...
Don't shake your head, Athena – I beseech you
To let me go there, even though it may
Be my undoing. Life has nothing in it;
I'd rather perish where the sirens play.