Apollo and Daphne

From the Hotel del Corso
through the Piazza del Poppolo
up into the Villa Borghese
with its umbrella pines and squirrels
and then the Galleria Borghese
each step brings me closer
unsuspecting
to an astonishment of the ages.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
has carved Daphne’s alarm
into marble.
Pursued by Apollo
stretching out
she is trying to flee
becoming a tree
hands fingers are leafy
bark is creeping up
and around.
A swirling encounter
flying bodies
struck still in marble
together forever apart.
It’s distant, it’s a myth
Cupid’s mischief
not possible
and yet
Daphne’s alarm
is alive and
I stand gripped for a long age
confronted.

Copyright Sandra Roe

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