MS (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

! ! Delphi, C.430 Bce

She saw them coming, that rainy day;
popped her head out of the cave,
saw them trudging sandalled up the hillside;

being an oracle, she knew all the answers;
but had to guess the questions, or wait
to see what stupidity or conceit
framed their speech;

upmarket bunch, this lot; not the usual
money market slickers whom
it was a pleasure to turn away..

Chaerophon addressed her:
was there any man who was wiser
than Socrates? She sighed inwardly;
always their leading questions
gave them away..

tell them what they want to hear..
she did the smoke thing, but
the rain spoiled the trick;

a theatrical pause always gives
better value, a certain weight..
no, she said at length, no man
is wiser than Socrates..

swiftly satisfied, they turned away;
did not hear her add,
‘but his wife is wiser…’

typical men… but she chuckled to herself
ironically, remembering what
her father said when she told him
she wanted to be an oracle when she grew up:

‘Men think they know… but women
think they know better…’ Dad
spoke truer than he knew -
in her case.

She gathered her robe
around her; checked the time;
caves are OK, have a certain drama;
but temples, she thought, are friendlier..

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Comments (1)

Enthralling narrative Michael - - taking the reader back into 400 B.C. means submitting self to the aura of the delicate balance between truth and myth - - and you do that so very very well..... as always a pleasure to read your verse..... best wishes from Fay...