Lament for Hyacinth by R. Christophe Ryber

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Lament for Hyacinth by R. Chrisophe RyberIn Arcadia, I came across your flower today. It was pale and sprinkled crimson, like your lips the last time I kissed you.

Should I cry? I did, as I had done that day jealous Zephyr took you from me. I can still feel your alabaster limbs in my arms, little crimson rivulets trickling from your fingertips to the green grass. And just there, the dread discus lay in all its lethality. I knelt there with you, stunned as any mortal, watched the light fade from your eyes.

Just then, a mother knelt in my temple in Delos with a burning, shivering child in her arms and sang out her plea for healing. The wind bore her prayer to my ears and I granted life, but there would be no respite for you, my love.

I could not undo the work of my own hands.

The words of my own Pythia mocked me as I grasped your naked chest to mine – Know Thyself. I should have known the very first time I ran my fingers through your hair the fate that awaited us.

Somewhere along the banks of Ladon, Daphne laughs her bitter vengeance. And in Cumae, the withered Sybil shrieks her satisfaction. In all of Hellas, who will turn a kind eye upon me in my grief?

As you grew cold, I turned a desperate glance north, but the Olympian peak held no mercy for me, and the ground trembled at the coming of my father’s brother. My terrible dart, death for both Achaean warrior and Arcadian peasant, quivered in my bow, eager to take flight. But the lord of the dead left only colorful shards of you to remain with me.

Now you are still here after all this time, full of color and scent and life. Perhaps, after I am forgotten, someone will take you up and place you on an altar or in a window – and think of Apollo and his dear Hyacinth.


Author Bio: R. Christophe Ryber lives in Vermont where he studies writing and literature at a local college.