@ 27.055 MHz: Ad Astra; At That Villa In Tivoli

". . . macte nova virtute, puer, sic itur ad astra . . ."

---Vergil, The Aeneid, IX

Who cares what problems the Senate will discuss,

with all their incessant bickering and fuss.

These pale to nothing in comparison

to the overwhelming and love-crushing loss

that I have sustained---each hour to realize

anew the fulfillment of that worst of fears

(rational thought unravels, logic's fabric---undone).

It leeches the light from each dawning day;

and from long nights' skies, sweeps the stars away.

It draws from these two, quite myopic, eyes

a deluge of most bitter, and saline, tears,

at which (I know) the Senate glibly sneers.

What is it that those deluded Christians say?---

something about each man must bear a cross?

And mine is firmly planted, and its crucifies

me without hope of a moment's brief cessation.

Sorrow engulfs me:  waves that do not ebb.

Like some insect caught in a spider's web,

I struggle to escape, I thrash and squirm.

No more to touch the long curls of his hair,

and that profuse tuft of softness "down there,"

(as old prudes call it); not to kiss his lips,

nor pleasure his sensitive nipples' tips;

then moving down his body, north to south,

take his firm pleasurer into my mouth

(or other crevices in which to come):

there to receive the nourishment of his sperm

released by his climactic ejaculation.

I understand your bitter disrespect,

Sabina, it is very obvious

(you never hesitate with your direct

verbal assaults):  your vulgar hatred

cannot corrupt my love, which was made sacred

by his acceptance,  Oh, Antinous:

obeisant to each cherished memory

of him, I will raise monuments to his beauty

across the whole empire's geography.

Knowledge of him will enter History:

I can compel that:  it means more to me,

much more, than even Rome's imperium:

it is my whole life's chief and final duty.

I will name stars for him:  a constellation

will bear his name as a new designation.

My clerks will convey this information

to that Alexandrian scholar, Ptolemy,

to include in his voluminous summary,

his Tetrabiblos on astronomy.

To death, my Beloved's precious soul is gone;

and yet . . . and yet . . . here in the Antinoeion . . .


Author's Notes/Comments: 

This poem could not have been written without the inspiration of SweetLeaf.  He has helped me to understand Hadrian's love for Antinous, and the overwhelming grief of that loss.

The use of the Greek title for Ptolemy's astronomical treatise is consistent with Hadrian's phihellenism.

The constellation that was named for Antinous consisted of six stars, the Aquilae:  Eta, Theta, Delta, Iota, Kappa, and Lambda Aquilae.

The poem's final line is based upon the assertion proposed by Zaccaria Mari and Sergio Sgalambro, in their article, The Antinoeion of Hadrian's Villa: Interpretation and Architectural Reconstruction in American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 111, No. 1 (Jan., 2007), pp. 83-104, that the body of Antinous was actually interred within the Antinoeion on the campus of Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli.

View s74rw4rd's Full Portfolio