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Pentheus to Dionysos

by William A. Holt
My futile struggle caught the jaded eyes
Of multitudes in our declining West.
When your displeasure led you to devise
Against me, I could not abide the jest,
Could not peer out in wonder from my cell,
Though you gave many chances, showed my face
To me as in a mirror, showed me Hell
In me and in my unrepentant race.
Soyinka knew me better than the Greek
Who first recorded our one-sided fight
Because he knew more centuries of bleak
And rigid souls immured in willful night,
And he best imaged your delight and dread:
Sweet red wine drunk straight from my severed head.

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Copyright © 1997 by William A. Holt. All rights reserved.