Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Scylla

 

The Emperor Tiberius commissioned this statue of Scylla attacking Odysseus's ship for his grotto at Sperlonga. Well, not exactly this statue, because the original got smashed to powder by a gang of silly, Dark Age monks and what you're seeing is part painstaking reconstruction, part inspired guesswork. 

Whatever- it's one of my favourite things. 

And here's the poem I wrote about it eight years ago.

                                    SCYLLA

                                    So did Tiberius slope from Rome

                                    To think or fuck?  Is the marble Scylla

                                    Made for his holiday home at Sperlonga

                                    A porno-object, a six-cunt special-

                                    Or was she there to remind him how heroes

                                    Get batted about?  Some monks with hammers

                                    Broke her apart and her shining pieces

                                    Lay under sand in the salt lagoon

                                    Till this century we patched them together

                                    And brought her back.  Me, I adore her,

                                    Salt-water-wallowing, free child of Nature,

                                    Rearing up on her two coiled tails-

                                    Six dog's heads where her sex should be,

                                    Braced like a figurehead, beautiful-

                                    As she grips the prow of Ulysses' ship

                                    And lashes out with a busted tiller.

 

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