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Behind the Prytaneum

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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)

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

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Behind the Prytaneum

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