Ah, noble Antonius— the model of your age,
Thick clustered curls worn by men and girls….
Even now still admired for subtle smile,
Slight curve upon the lips,
Vacant eyes in marble carved, trace of melancholy …..
Fixed upon some distant view, perhaps just rising
From dream of wild and radiant god.
At your feet, youth of Rome would kneel,
Sing your name in music,
Carve in white marble your glorious brow,
Trembling rays of morning Sun
Burn your image into history, zenith of Empire’s beauty.
There was no open shame, no misery so vain,
Beating hearts unrestrained from wanting you,
Blessing you with promises and long silent sighs at night.
How finely wrought the chiseled face,
On you the hope of love would set
Though they could not be but passing chance,
Body naked but for drape, standing
High on column placed on temple streets.
What golden fruit, what heavy seed
Did you cast on languid summer days
To those who strained to nest within your bed?
Even now our beating hearts burn with envy,
Hear echoed melody of ancient vesper hymns,
Eternal beauty keeping silent as endless stars,
Knowing your world is still the same world as ours.
Though no longer do men wear such curls as yours,
No longer do slaves bow low upon the floor—
Yet still in solitude we offer prayer,
Bear tears upon the cheek at night
When sleep evades, entangled sheets
Damp from secrets clinging in the dark….
Pray whatever love our hearts can bear will last
As long as marbled beauty sculpted in the past.
As water clearly mirrors sky if winds are calm,
So, too, do stalwart trees withstand the storm,
Yet still all marble busts shall turn to dust…..
Only beauty lasts undisturbed within the mind,
Reflects true image of the highest Self—
Our gratitude, Antonius, we give you that.