Behind the Prytaneum

By T. Zachary Cotler b. 1981
Tragedy began with a dance in the guise of goats, said Aristotle.
Tragedy began with a sacrifice of goats, said Eratosthenes.
They came to a circle of columns or great white trees.
They drank red resveratrol wine from the bottle.
A classicist shouts, those are not differing accounts!
One must kill a goat to dress as a satyr.
Way of necessity, way of the wine, a fluid ounce—
in Galilee, where he has turned, said John, the water into rhyme,
a god’s son or a vintner dies, not differing accounts
when laser diode udometers measure, millennia later,
the rainfall on fields that yield grapes for wine—
a miracle’s a narrative with time
condensed. An ounce for the gorgeous man in the gutter,
the beggar-poet cries, and some crab legs with clarified butter!

Source: Poetry (July/August 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2009
 T. Zachary Cotler


Theodore Zachary Cotler was born in Passaic, New Jersey, in 1981 and raised in Marin County, California. Cotler earned a BA in English from Cornell University in 2003 and an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2008.

Cotler is the author of a novel, Ghost at the Loom (2014), a critical monograph, Elegies for Humanism (2014), and two books of poetry, Sonnets to the Humans (2013) and House with a Dark Sky Roof (2011). . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Christianity, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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