The tread of gold cordial flowed from the bottle
with such languor that the hostess found time to say
here in mournful Tauris where our fates have cast us
we are never bored - with a glance over her shoulder.
On all hands the rites of Bacchus, as though the whole world
held only guards and dogs. As you go you see no one.
And the placid days roll past like heavy barrels. Far off
in the ancient rooms there are voices. Can't make them out. Can't answer.
After tea we went out into the great brown garden.
Dark blinds are dropped like eyelashes on the windows.
We move along the white columns looking at grapes. Beyond them
airy glass has been poured over the drowsing mountains.
I said the grape vines live on like an antique battle,
with gnarled cavalry tangling in curving waves.
Here in stone-starrd Tauris is an art of Hellas: here, rusted,
are the noble ranks of the golden acres.
Meanwhile silence stands in the white room like a spinning wheel,
smelling of vinegar, paint, wine cool from the cellar.
Do you remember in the Greek house the wife they all loved?
Not Helen. The other. And how long she embroidered?
Golden fleece, where are you then, golden fleece?
All the way the heaved weight of the sea rumbled.
Leaving his boat and its sea-wearied sails,
Odysseus returned, filled with space and time.