Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Derek Mahon

Aphrodite\'s Pool

Aphrodite\'s Pool

Aphrodite\'s Pool

I dive and rise in an explosion of spindrift
and drift to a turtle-faced inflatable raft –
evening, Cyclades, one cloud in the azure,
a brain-scan light-show swarming on blue tiles,
a flickering network of vague energies
as on dolphin murals and docked caique bows,
a murmuring hosepipe where the pool fills,
snatches of music from a quiet house,
the wash-house like a temple to the Muses;
on a marble slab flipper and apple core,
straw hat and wristwatch in a deckchair,
sandal and white sock. Nymphs have been here;
water nymphs have been here printing the blind
nap-time silence with supernatural toes
and casting magic on the ruffled water
still agitated by a dry seasonal wind.
A last plane fades beyond the glittering sound,
its wild surf-boards and somnolent fishing-boats,
as the air fills with cicadas and mosquitoes,
the sky with sunset and astronomy; goats
and donkeys nod in the god-familiar hills
among spaceship vertebrae and white asphodels.
The prone body is mine, that of a satyr,
a fat, unbronzed, incongruous visitor
under the fairy lights and paper frills
of a birthday party I was too late to attend.
Aloof from the disco ships and buzzing bikes
the pool ticks faintly among quiet rocks;
rose petals on the surface and in the air,
mimosa and jasmine fragrance everywhere,
I flirt like some corrupt, capricious emperor
with insects dithering on the rim; for this
is the mythic moment of metamorphosis
when quantitive becomes qualitative and genes
perform their atom-dance of mad mutation . . .
I climb out, shower off chlorine and sun-lotion,
and a hot turquoise underwater light
glows like Atlantis in the Aegean night;
network, stars-of-the-sea, perpetual motion,
a star-net hums in the aphrodisiac sea-lanes.
Close

Aphrodite\'s Pool

I dive and rise in an explosion of spindrift
and drift to a turtle-faced inflatable raft –
evening, Cyclades, one cloud in the azure,
a brain-scan light-show swarming on blue tiles,
a flickering network of vague energies
as on dolphin murals and docked caique bows,
a murmuring hosepipe where the pool fills,
snatches of music from a quiet house,
the wash-house like a temple to the Muses;
on a marble slab flipper and apple core,
straw hat and wristwatch in a deckchair,
sandal and white sock. Nymphs have been here;
water nymphs have been here printing the blind
nap-time silence with supernatural toes
and casting magic on the ruffled water
still agitated by a dry seasonal wind.
A last plane fades beyond the glittering sound,
its wild surf-boards and somnolent fishing-boats,
as the air fills with cicadas and mosquitoes,
the sky with sunset and astronomy; goats
and donkeys nod in the god-familiar hills
among spaceship vertebrae and white asphodels.
The prone body is mine, that of a satyr,
a fat, unbronzed, incongruous visitor
under the fairy lights and paper frills
of a birthday party I was too late to attend.
Aloof from the disco ships and buzzing bikes
the pool ticks faintly among quiet rocks;
rose petals on the surface and in the air,
mimosa and jasmine fragrance everywhere,
I flirt like some corrupt, capricious emperor
with insects dithering on the rim; for this
is the mythic moment of metamorphosis
when quantitive becomes qualitative and genes
perform their atom-dance of mad mutation . . .
I climb out, shower off chlorine and sun-lotion,
and a hot turquoise underwater light
glows like Atlantis in the Aegean night;
network, stars-of-the-sea, perpetual motion,
a star-net hums in the aphrodisiac sea-lanes.

Aphrodite\'s Pool

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère