Actaeon’s Folly

Actaeon’s folly was not his errant sense of time and space,
stumbling upon sun-ripened blackberries
that stained in carmine streaks
and meandering amid the oak groves,
oblivious to the lengthening shadows
stretching like a yawn upon the earth.

Nor was his folly staring a moment too long
as the pale sunlight poured over
the luster of Diana’s ivory skin
as she slid the worn quiver from her creamy shoulder
and eased herself into the brook,
which gurgled and sighed with rapture
as it caressed the graceful curves of her hips.

He did not even err—his fatal folly—
when he dared to meet the goddess’s eyes,
noticing their tranquil blue sharpen
to the bruised panic of a thundering squall,
as if he held her fluttering soul in his hands,
and it whispered her nakedness to him,
her darkest secrets of longing and desire.

No, none of these follies were his sin.
He winked, a jovial diminishment,
a subtle shift—and made Diana the prey.


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