The poem, complete

Today, for reasons that cannot be revealed here, turns out to be an astonishingly auspicious day to post the complete version of The Heleniad.

I sing this to the young lady in the front row. You others all may listen.


Canto the first

   And so Miss Helenius
   Feeling most curious
   Not quite anonymous
   Yet not yet eponymous
   Intent on the spurious
   Though nothing injurious
   In a moment unserious
   Set out on a lark

   Like brazen young Theseus
   Or better, Prometheus
   Whose tales still fire us
   And often inspire us
   To passions erroneous
   If not quite felonious
   But somewhat delirious
   And never too dark

§  The heart can bedazzle us
   And this may be perilous
   For the heart is perfidious
   And somewhat insidious
   Those moments that capture us
   Can make us feel rapturous
   Till hopes grow innumerous
   Quite out of the blue

   The place was commodious
   The music melodious
   The night serendipitous
   For adventure precipitous
   As the Gods like to play with us
   And so have their way with us
   So he, feeling humorous,
   Did pick up her cue

§  The girl was vivacious
   And somewhat voracious
   The liquor contagious
   The boy felt outrageous
   Their mood grew gregarious
   Till, feeling hilarious,
   They descended the palace
   And took to the street

   In this vast megalopolis
   Our winter metropolis
   What is our true purpose?
   Do our moments usurp us?
   For when things become amorous
   Then our hearts, feeling glamorous,
   May drink from the Chalice
   And so be complete

Canto the second

   Their talk was far-ranging, the rhythm was changing
   And rhyme rearranging out there in the night
   Their thoughts began drifting, for something was shifting
   A curtain was lifting, a song taking flight

   And so then she kissed him, and yes she did bind him
   The wall was behind him and yes yes they said
   This flower of the mountain, like the girls Andalusian
   Perhaps an illusion, her lips were so red

   Her arms were around him, her body imploring
   The boy, now adoring, returned her caress
   Say yes mountain flower and the wind somewhere blowing
   Their hearts madly going and yes I will Yes.

§  Moments may sway us, but kisses betray us,
   For fate won't obey us, and oft goes astray
   Twas fateful that meeting, two hearts fiercely beating
   But alas, joy is fleeting when stolen away

   In a turn most appalling the darkness came calling
   For a curse was befalling, a thing of their fears
   And a figure demonic - it was almost iconic -
   In voice monotonic said: "Seventeen years!"

   It was all rather vexing, and sorely perplexing,
   This grim specter hexing their love most sublime
   "What be you?" they wondered, then the night air was sundered
   As the dark figure thundered: "The demon - of Time!"

§  "Je parlerai en français
   C'est la langue de la vérité
   Pour vous dire ce que je sais"
   Ainsi le démon a dit

   "Il est temps pour vous d'entendre
   C'est le moment de comprendre
   Vos rêves que je veux prendre"
   Alors le démon a ri

   La jeune fille a pensée
   "Dix-sept ans" a-t-elle répété
   "Cela fait beaucoup d'années
   Et la vie est brève"

   Le garçon a dit "Mon amour
   Je te parle de tout mon coeur
   Tu sais que je t'adore
   Est ce que tout était un rêve?"

   En un jour une vie peut changer
   Tout est ré-arrangé
   Un rêve est dérangé
   Et l'amour s'est dissout

   Le nuit était très sombre
   Le monde était dans l'ombre
   Qu'est ce qui est dans un nombre?
   Tristement, peut-être tout.


   There's a room in my soul where the old shattered dreams
   Lie in pieces all over the floor
   Where the stillness of time shades the windows, it seems
   And a demon stands guard at the door

   But sometimes a memory lights in my mind
   And it shines in the soft attic air
   And a strange kind of music plays sweetly and kind
   That I let myself hear, if I dare

   This flower of the mountain, this girl Andalusion,
   This force I could not understand
   Yes your touch Miss Helenius was, in conclusion
   The caress of a Theremin hand

   But like delicate fragrance of madeleines dipped
   Into lime-flowers long gone away
   Your succulent kiss so deliciously sipped
   Beguiles me even today

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