While men keep going to Delphi
by Ayyappa Paniker
To learn about the hidden future,
I should have been a hill
By the roadside covered with snow.
On the branch of a tree where leaves
Wither in the heat of the burning Troy,
I should have been a bird
With the spring crushed in the parched throat.
By the side of the master sage
Who drank from the cup filled with hemlock,
I should have been a night
Cursed by his disciples filled with grief.
I should have been the fate
Endorsed by the master who welcomed the grief.
As the centuries gallop by in a chain,
Their hoofs beating hard,
I should have been the cross
Carried by Poulose to Corinth.
As the end of the era collapses and falls
Somewhere on the Byzantine highway,
I should have been a palm-leaf note
Wrapped up in a dirty rag.