States of Poetry 2016 - New South Wales | 'Pyrra' by David Malouf

after Horace, Odes I, v


What slim-hipped beachboy dripping
with musk is riding you
now on a bed of roses
in your snug den, Pyrra? Is it

for him you have braided
those honey-gold locks
in a knot so neat, so
homely? One day

soon, black moods, black
looks, he'll be cursing
you and the fickle
gods who have dropped him,

but for now he's
hooked, you're his, all this
is for him:
calm seas, endless horizons.

Well tides,
as we know my precious,
can turn. These trophies
I've hung on the clubhouse wall

speak for one
man in his golden prime
cruelly dumped
and broken. A warning to all.


David Malouf