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 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, responds boastingly, boringly anecdotal. Diana has done a bunk, fearing astronauts. Saturn, Time on his hands, stares at nothing 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.