This poem continues the exploration of life and death of the previous post and poem – it is written in blank verse, and uses syllabic metre of ten syllables per line for all but two of its lines – one of those being eight, and the other twelve syllables. My little poem plays upon the riddle of the Sphinx from Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, but it is also a personal musing on a book written in the early part of the twentieth century by a Swedish doctor who practised in Italy and 'rebuilt' Tiberius's villa on the island of Capri. My father loved Axel Munthe's The Story of San Michelé, and so do I, and so too does my son.
Sphinx Statuette from Capri
This sphinx is weighted bronze upon my desk,
with sandstone plinth new-hewn from ancient rocks:
in silent riddling immortality
it mocks our human time and life’s short spark.
Symbolic gift, from son to me; as I
received before, paternal dreams and more
to walk San Michelé and Caesar’s home
cast high above the blue Tyrrhenian sea.
Cool souvenir, of pyramids and kings
entombed in dark and silent sands;
my father gone, and I now next to be
from four to two, to three, and grave, and entropy.