I do not know what I should expect
you to come to know as you unwrap my bones
and the tissues of my belongings.
I carved this mark for you, no one else,
hoping it would make me known to you.
But when young Dawn with her rose-red fingers
shines once more, it will be up to you.
I asked my son to hold to the stars
on his journey so that we both, gazing upon them,
would be united, barely believing it myself.
Now the stars have become my home,
for they are the only place I can find him.
Hence, when young Dawn with her rose-red fingers
shines once more, will you hold to Starlight?
Though I risk heresy to admit it, I am persuaded
to wonder if this goddess will overcome all
her imperfections and survive to create you,
and if her beauty will draw you near if she has;
I have worried and fretted endless days over this.
So as young Dawn with her rose-red fingers
shines once more, I simply pray you will exist
and come to find me. I pray that when you
unwrap me, touch my fingers stenciled on these walls,
pool my dyed shells in your palm, as I often have,
breathe in the cave air that I have labored under,
glance up to the stars lighting an empty sky,
you will know me, deeply, truly, and in that knowing,
give life to this life, make perpetual what I cannot.
’When young Dawn with her rose-red fingers shone once more’ is from Homer’s Odyssey (Fagles’ excellent translation) where it is used to launch many of Odysseus’s adventures.