…the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence,
and the violent take it by force.

Fleet Hermes,
testifying frisky
messenger of the gods,
brings bad tidings
this day
to the earth-born;
“bodes ill for all of us,”
says he, after supernal flight,
winged feet moving,
god-knees twinkling,
quick stepping
into his immortal limelight.

Lord and laird,
lady and quean,
peasant and spalpeen,
startled by this apparition
maintain mouths
with open Ohs;
ai, ai, ai, trickster
quick as mercury,
quicksilver in fact,
can we call him that?

Clears his divine throat
and, sighing, says his piece,
a long draw of the bow,
bowstring more or less
enhanced by his poetry
and here’s how it goes:
woe, woe is me,
the enemies of belief
and foes of
numinous existence,
the bringers of despair,
of no sure balance
between our two worlds
creep on apace,
creep in on us
from every compass point.

A pretty task whether
Zeus, our big daddy above,
can save the day, deliver us
from an endless series
of dreary wearisome tomorrows,
no magic, no mystery,
no sacred claim
beyond your brief lives below,
no sacred bond to immortality
above and beyond human myth.

Can the thunderer from afar,
bring forth
victory from defeat?
Resonating, maintaining
the supernatural binding-back,
the everlasting building-blocks
of gods and men or failing,
fall like Hephaestus, flung
from gracious airy Olympus?

The handwriting, so to speak,
is on the wall.
Nothing lasts forever,
not even Cronus, time itself,
castrating and devouring
kept his place; in the end
failure and termination
come to all.

But worse than Hephaestus’
lesser fate, the case of
Zeus failing is awful, baleful,
final and his falling
makes a sorry heap
of godhead gone
to ruin, to oblivion
on the hard ground.

Who will remember
these ancient thrones?
These rowdy vital
gods and goddesses,
the peasants and princesses
kneeling at the shrines?

Nothing left but
broken stones of temples,
faded memories,
dim legends
to be exposed, poked
and debased by pedants
of a later day.

But for now, Hermes,
puckish natty herald,
zips away with a bright blink;
quick as flashing signal-mirror
he’s gone to Zeus’ sight.

What message from upstairs
brought downstairs?
Enjoy our world, your world
while you can,
embrace, accept
without question
the mystery and magic,
the maenad violence,
the hallowed rites.

“Thamus are you there?
Go tell them in Palodes
the great god Pan is dead.”

Heed this story;
Plutarch lies not.

Pan is dead and gone.

The beginning of the end
for Zeus and the rest,
sitting on high, and
for men anchored below
Olympus’ visitants
come no more to
the black fertile earth.

Pan, the oldest god,
first before all,
polymorphous, protean,
rustic, goatish, lecherous,
is dead and gone,
swept away
before he knew it
and the water-walking one
plain as day, strong as Saul,
sure of his grace as Daniel
among the lions
walks among us;
the lord our God
the lord is one
his message true or false as
the stars that found him
that bound him
to pass down below
and then, leaving no stone unturned,
ascend to his very own heaven,
spotless, gleaming and remote;
in his ascent
banishing any surmise
of divine multiplicity,
gods upon gods
in roiling confusion;
avoiding any chance
of a joyous goat-footed Pan,
lustful piper, rampaging
through the landscape
of human life.

Thamus, you told
what had to be told;

we all pay the price.