Hespera envelopes the sun’s harsh rays in her gauzy cloak,
And assumes her short watch over the clouded affairs of men.
Her calamitous sister, Eris, hears the stroke
Of ships sliding across the silver Aerian.
Her time has come again. Her fierce cry
Is echoed by horn-mad hoplites.
Old men’s memories, like scorpions crawling high
Upon their cringing necks, sting with ancient furies.
Eris assumes an attacker’s form.“Those who don’t find your graves,”
She shrieks across the parapets, “shall become spear-taken slaves!”
The elders of Ilitchion assemble,
Ashen-faced. “How have you, Leylandeus,
Forgotten all that which makes us tremble
With fears of its recurrence? Pray, pay us
Heed! Twice have laurels, surely ours, by thieves
Sent by bull-headed Minopaul, been lost.
You have inhaled wisps of enchanted leaves,
Certainly Demeter’s doing. Star-crossed
Men of Cleave now land on Ilitchion’s quay!
How can you keep Tall Verlander from the fray?”
And now does Hespera retire from sight,
And gives way to dark Nyx, who rules the night.
The clash of arms, aspis blunting dory;
Maximus Scherzus stares down Cleave’s assaults,
His two-hued hawk’s eyes hunting his quarry.
Suddenly, Astyanax Ajax vaults
Forward. He whips his long unerring spear
And pierces Tomalon’s unsullied shield.
Next, Aphileus and Peraltus steer
Home their throws. Tomalon falls. Cleave must yield.
The second day, Huphaestus fails. Phister
Bests him with ease, and Ilitchion breathes
Again. On the third day, Eris, sister
Of Hespera, mother of Pain, unsheathes
All her weapons. Eubaldus is hacked down,
And Porcellus, bloodied, staggers away.
Cleave grasps once more toward the golden crown,
With Phucydome the Bold’s swift display,
But Ajax’s javelin descends with white heat.
Cleave’s last hope crumbles at Aphileus’s feet.
An eagle soars into view and circles the arena twice.
Leylandeus watches the bird depart. “Know, by this device,
Oh! Ilitchion, the Gods signal their pleasure.
Don't overturn and burn your chariots just yet!
We have, it’s true, taken Cleave’s measure.
But clinching first, before fires are set."
The eagle’s course, seen by winged spies,
Was to the Tower of Terminus,
Where, shackled, the twin-headed Xaponettum lies;
Beside the writhing figure: Equus Asinus.
The twin-headed Xaponettum stole Zeus’s fire in the springtime,
A grave offense. Now has come the moment to pay for this crime.
Daily does the sharp beak rip, by Zeus's dictum,
Ox-strong Hafules, swift Cyzimus, or Chyppnus,
From the belly of its bound and screaming victim,
Replaced by night with such as bumbling Balbuenus,
Haedalus Ex, Aezekios the Less-than-wise.
The Columbian chorae, behind shielded eyes,
Loudly laments.“How can one land be so distressed?
That Poseidon and Zeus both be unwelcome guest!”
The hopes of Cleave itself dissolve into motes,
Which Aeolian winds scatter into the white capped waves of the Aerian Sea.