బాసిస్, ఫిలీమన్ దంపతులు … డిక్ డేవిస్, ఇంగ్లీషు కవి
జీవితం పలుగూ, పాఱ, సాపుచేసుకునే కత్తీ
తడకలగదులూ, కర్ర సామాన్లతో వెళ్ళిపోతుంది.
“మా ఆయన” అనీ, “మా ఆవిడ” అనీ చెప్పనవసరంలేని
ముదిమి ఆవహించిన ఆ రెండు దేహాలూ
యవ్వనానుభవాలు నెమరువేసుకుంటూనే ఉంటాయి.
నిస్సారంగా గడపడంగానీ, దేనిగురించీ తెలుసుకోవలసిన
అవసరంగాని లేని వాతావరణంలో వాళ్ళు జీవిస్తున్నారు;
అది ఇప్పటికీ వాళ్ళ ప్రేమకి కొనసాగింపే.
వాళ్ళ భయమల్లా ఇద్దరిలో ఒకరు ముందు పోయి
రెండోవారి జీవితానికి అర్థం లేకుండా చేస్తామేమోననే
వాళ్ళిద్దరి కోరికా ఒక్కసారే ప్రాణం విడిచిపెట్టి
ఒక్క పాడె మీదే లోకానికి వీడ్కోలు పలకాలని.
వాళ్ళిద్దరూ జీవితమనే రొట్టెముక్కని పంచుకుంటున్నారు.
వాళ్ళకి దేముళ్ళ అవసరంలేకపోవడంతో, దేముళ్ళే అక్కడున్నారు.
జననం ఏప్రిల్ 18 1945
Baucis and Philemon
Life lies to hand in hoe, spade, pruning-knife,
Plain wooden furniture and wattle walls,
In those unspoken words ‘my husband’, ‘wife’,
In one another’s flesh which still recalls
Beneath the map of age their savored youth.
It is an ambience in which they move
Having no need to grasp or grub for truth;
It is the still persistence of their love.
That one should die before the other’s death
And drain the world of meaning is their fear:
Their hope, to draw together their last breath
And leave the sunlight on a common bier.
Life is the meaning and the bread they share;
Because they need no Gods, the Gods are there.
(Born April 18, 1945)
Baucis and Philemon
In Ovid’s moralizing fable which stands on the periphery of Greek mythology and Roman mythology, Baucis and Philemon were an old married couple in the region of Tyana, which Ovid places in Phrygia, and the only ones in their town to welcome disguised gods Zeus and Hermes (in Roman mythology, Jupiter and Mercury respectively), thus embodying the pious exercise of hospitality, the ritualized guest-friendship termed xenia, or theoxenia when a god was involved.
Jupiter and Mercury came disguised as ordinary peasants, and began asking the people of the town for a place to sleep that night. They had been rejected by all, “so wicked were the people of that land,” when at last they came to Baucis and Philemon’s simple rustic cottage. Though the couple were poor, their generosity far surpassed that of their rich neighbours, among whom the gods found “doors bolted and no word of kindness.”
After serving the two guests food and wine (which Ovid depicts with pleasure in the details), Baucis noticed that, although she had refilled her guest’s beechwood cups many times, the pitcher was still full (from which derives the phrase “Mercury’s Pitcher”). Realizing that her guests were gods, she and her husband “raised their hands in supplication and implored indulgence for their simple home and fare.” Philemon thought of catching and killing the goose that guarded their house and making it into a meal, but when he went to do so, it ran to safety in Jupiter’s lap. Jupiter said they need not slay the goose and that they should leave the town. This was because he was going to destroy the town and all those who had turned them away and not provided due hospitality. He told Baucis and Philemon to climb the mountain with him and Mercury and not to turn back until they reached the top.
After climbing to the summit (“as far as an arrow could shoot in one pull”), Baucis and Philemon looked back on their town and saw that it had been destroyed by a flood and that Jupiter had turned their cottage into an ornate temple. The couple’s wish to be guardians of the temple was granted. They also asked that when time came for one of them to die, that the other would die as well. Upon their death, the couple were changed into an intertwining pair of trees, one oak and one linden, standing in the deserted boggy terrain.