Verses from a modern “Priapeia”: 48


‘Tis not enough, O friends, that I
Am fixed here where earth gapes open,
Heat in the Dog Days, summer’s drought,
Rain beating against my bosom
Day-in day-out, and the hail-storm
That freezes stiff my hoary beard
No! I must endure bleeding labor, 
Tiresome, heavy toil, the watch-bird’s
Sleepless screeching, and add to this
Unskilled rustic hands that chopped me
From an old log, then I am called
“Guardian of the Gourds”, the deity
Lowest…and she looks with disgust
On me, leaves with him to feed her lust.

Michael Curtis is a classical sculptor, painter, and architect who lives in Alexandria, Virginia. His verses have been published in Candelabrum, Blue Unicorn, The New Formalist, The Lyric, American Arts Quarterly, Amphora, Pivot, and many other journals. His translation of Afrikaans verse, “Land of Sunlight and Stars” will be published in 2012.