Mar 3

The Latonids



Sister, recall our mother’s dire wand’rings,

How, from Boread country, descended,

Spent she, twelve sleepless twilights, meand’ring,

As expectant wolf slyly pretended.

Unto swan-flanked Asterios arrived,

That unmoored island, on ambitious quest,

Found storied fame whence her dammed-waters burst.

Saw Heaven what pent birthing tides contrived,

What unleashed jealousy sought to arrest;

Came, without travail, the pallid eve first.


Brother, remember thine hard deliv’rance,

How our mother’s canal, o’erstretched and drawn,

Contracted more for nine evens’ expanse,

‘Til, with blinding light, ‘rose thine waking Dawn.

Glorious Day, by ebon Night, conceived;

Honor thine mothers! Her, by labors born,

Her, by prestige scorned, whom, to thee consigned—

Her bosom, her kisses, her womb received—

The matron’s crowning pangs fore’er foresworn,

The brighter torch, to her lesser resigned.


Sister, whose gilt arrows harrowed Delphi?

What crowning guilt bore he for th’ offense!

By mother loved; by father, vilified,

Enduring wand’ring exile as compense.

Whose lyre-plucking fingers taught ye arch’ry?

The silent shot easing thine woodland sport,

‘Twas this no honor? No endearing act?

Whose plague bolts corrected Tityos’ treach’ry?

Diseased death I granted him as consort,

Tortured as the Fire-bringer’s pain exact.


Brother, I aided thee in that affair!

Dimmer light, feebler arms, not weaker aim,

Of equal concern for mother’s welfare,

Of like mission—to glorify her name—

That still the uncouth multitudes profane,

Like the Lycians who refused her thirst;

As riv’let scum rivets them bellied song.

Affords the Theban queen sim’lar disdain,

Parading her stretch-marks and offspring nursed,

Airing a blist’ring screed ‘midst festive throngs.


Sister, hath our sunny lamp list’ning ears;

‘Tis aware of the Tantalid’s affront.

Dispense with thine pity pleas and make clear,

Th’ object ye insist I boldly confront.

Strung my recurve; engorged, my quiver’s hold,

With writhing death, quick or ling’ring, to deal,

Cart’s stallions fed and driver alert.

By Chiron trained, by womb’s vision foretold,

That virago’s demise, long ago sealed;

Sister, speak! Ordain th’ our of mortal hurt!


Brother, of sing’lar mind, same conviction,

Embodied in sep’rate spheres, alike heart,

Since double birth, mired in shared affliction;

By Fate contrived, our stations kept apart.

Let the starry halves in concert combine,

Abide ‘til neaptide, then loosen our cords,

Rumbling sweet havoc in wedded chorus.

Let pointed paeans her menfolk’s ears find,

Sharp serenades her womenfolk record,

‘Til the wicked woman weeps before us!


Remain Phoebe; thine reposed angle sleeps,

Keep pace droopy Phoebus, after our train,

Contain thyself! Slow! Our altitude creeps,

Sweep faster or else abort our campaign!

Ahold! Ahold! I come to proper height,

Twilight avails me! I reach my threshold!

Behold, th’ enemy! Let loose, deathly blight!

Smite, argent arrows, the seven a-told!

Let perish her Moons, let dwindle her Suns,

By eclipsing hands, her Heavens undone,

Snuffed, her bright candles, by dull darkness spun.

Let dreary lament befall their matron,

And illumine joys a-light our dear one;

Outshone, her shadows, by our triumph won!


G. E. Hernandez



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