No one seems to pity Jove, hagridden though he is,
staggering backward, fumbling for whatever silly mask
of swan or bull – always the mis-timed oaf:
always wanting, never wanted. Being
chief of gods doesn't get him far.
He's reduced to clumsy violence, and singing,
in a reedy voice, “Oh Lord, please
don't let me be misunderstood.” He wrings
his hands and his privates in dismay.
For all that, he is his own taster,
risking every beauty that falls under his gaze,
smitten every time, put off by no shapeshift,
misled by no disguise. It is the very seal,
the imprimatur of beauty, to have
Mr Jupiter long for you. The old perv.
He has populated heaven and earth, and
he is strangely bound by kindly ties:
what his daughters ask for he cannot refuse,
and so the wheel of human misery rolls on,
Troy and Thebes are sacked,
fleeting mortals emulate his rapes;
the beauty is hollowed out of everything;
only what is cruel and bestial remains.
They say that Pluto, summoned late at night,
refused to blind him, and left muttering
blasphemies; Jove sat on alone,
running a finger on the sharp edge
of a prickling thunderbolt
till dawn flushed the eastern sky.