by Dannie Abse
The gods, old as night, don’t trouble us.
Poor weeping Venus! Her pubic hairs are grey,
and her magic love girdle has lost its spring.
Neptune wonders where he has put his trident.
Mars is gaga – illusory vultures on the wing.
Pluto, exhumed, blinks. My kind of world, he thinks.
Kidnapping and rape, like my Front Page exploits
adroitly brutal – but he looks out of sorts when
Other unmanned gods shake their heads tut tut,
respond boastingly, boringly anecdotal.
Diana has done a bunk, fearing astronauts,
Saturn, Time on his hands, stares at nothing and
nothing stares back. Glum Bacchus talks ad nauseum
of cirrhosis, and small bald Cupid, fiddling
with arrows, can’t recall which side the heart is.
All the old gods have become enfeebled
mere playthings for poets. Few doze or daft,
frolic on Parnassian clover. True sometimes
summer light dies in a room – but only
a bearded profile in a cloud floats over.