He froze completely behind the beachside bush,
dropped his bag stuffed with goat-milk cheese,
dropped his stick on the sand, squatted,
grabbed shakily with both hands his
large fluffy head. His soul had only one wish –
to rise and hush the screaming seagulls scattered
along the seaside, hush the sea itself, eliminate
every sound but this one. The god was unperturbed
by the seagulls, he wasn't gazing at the sea,
the northern wind did not make him cold,
he stretched his chalky limbs and went on to satiate
the unfolded universe with the enormity
of a small flute. Marsyas forgot his much-praised flock,
tomorrow's trip to the crystal caves was blanked out,
tonight's dance around the fire lost its allure.
Sitting on the sand, he was trying to contain a shout
bursting out of him. It was almost six o'clock
in the morning, when he got sick. There will be no cure.
So can I. So can I. His fingers were rapidly
losing the herdsman's clumsiness appropriate for
restraining a kid, snapping thick twigs, grabbing
an eager nymph in the bush or clapping
vigorously with hot intoxication before
the circle of his likes, under the charred pine-tree.
Like a cluster of homing pigeons who recognize
not by the roofs or smoke-pipes their native town,
but by a certain absence of the need to look for them –
his coarse fingers, warmed under the cloak's hem,
touched the long reed, hastened up and down,
already measuring the beachside by its size.
His goats were plucking the azure blades,
he could see the dark daubs moving far along the coast,
however, he was not worried about wolves.
Keeping his elbows up, digging his hooves
deeper into the indifferent sand, he was a ghost
of a satyr who throws off his skin and disintegrates.
The flute was wailing, failing, imitating
the sobs of the wind and the sea-gull's moan,
its defeats emphasizing the magnificence of its dare.
Behind the freckled blue screen he could sense the bare
universe drawing closer – but the sun alone
flared bulkily on the abyss, ruminating.
Because I dared to contest with Apollo
and challenge the god himself
by my unequal frailty,
I was tied to the willow
and my old Satyr's self
was stripped off me.
I can sense the sea and the land
with my bare flesh,
I don't stand in my own way.
My old self rots on the sand –
this rope leads me like a leash
to the fluteful day.