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a poem by Selene. Moonlight hides many sins...

By Halston WilliamsPublished 11 months ago 2 min read
The Sleep of Endymion by Anne-Louis Girodet (1791), Musée du Louvre, Paris.

In visions of the dark night

     I have dreamed of joy departed

But a waking dream of life and light

     Hath left me broken hearted” - Poe

How playfully his dark eyes gleamed

So that, sprawled on the white sheets, he seemed

Worldly, but innocent still, like a child.

Like a city sparrow, still flitting free and wild.

Wondering whether gods or fate had sent him to me,

I gazed at him, and knew he was not meant for me.

Still, I kept my watch and then, while he lay sleeping,

My senses were beguiled- perhaps I too was dreaming...

Said Hypnos,

“Weary mortal princeling, lay you down to sleep,

Walk with me across the dark, unfathomable deep

All the world is quiet- no one can reach us there

Away from prying eyes who’d censor us or stare

Let me draw a twilight veil o’er your sun-kissed face,

And pass away your tender years in my soft embrace.”

And Morpheus,

“Why stumble through the void of darkest slumber,

When with me you may wander strange worlds without number?

Across vast ranging desserts with sands of purest gold,

Ancient kingdoms, full of  treasures wondrous to behold.

Vistas more fantastic than those opium-eaters see

Shall all be yours forever, if you will come with me.”

And Thanatos at last,

  “All sleepers will awaken come the light of day,

And with the sunrise their illusions pass away,

Mere mortals all must journey to the land of shades.

Only I can save your beauty ‘ere it fades…

The lord of death has bid me bring you with all speed,

For he will have a changeling boy to rival Ganymede-

A wild hyacinth for his Elysian fields

Beside the river Léthé (a wound forgotten never heals).

What in all the worlds of men do you value so?

What keeps you from your hearts desire? Why not let it go?

Who but jealous Moonshine would shed her tears for thee,

With hosts of fallen angels to keep you company?

Of all the other youths ever taken in their prime,

You shall be the fairest. Until the end of time,

There will be neither man nor angel loved so well."

"Very well,” said he, “I’ll follow you to Hell…”

Something whispered in my soul…my brain was in a fever

Why should he be for some other- why not mine forever?

So eager to possess him, fires raging violently,

I almost did not hear him sigh, surrendering silently…

How quiet it is now! With nobody to hear

Such soft breathing, heart barely beating,

Eyes unseeing, yet full of dreaming, dark & eternally clear.

He’s bathed in bright moonlight, silver, shining,

Here lies my beloved, the deathless Endymion!

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About the Creator

Halston Williams

Eternal Student: literature, poetry, history, art, and philosophy. English Teacher. Writer & painter. Traveller & skier (when there's $$$). I'm young enough to be foolish, yet old enough to know better. Lover of dark & beautiful things.

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