Both gods and human beings can climb
Olympus, but larger spaces must be left
on the great granite staircase
for those of us with muscles of alabaster
and buttocks firm as marble. Some of us
are onlookers in silhouette: god-men
with crested helms and unsheathed knives,
great dogs with lolling tongues spitting
aconite, immortals making vicious
gestures. We could swat you on your way
up, or nail you to some tree. Sometimes,
that is our whim, and great tragedies
are written down, eyes torn out:
womb, foothills, summit, crevasse, tomb.
Both gods and human beings can climb.
Poem by Giles Watson, 2013. Inspired by a trick of perspective which allows small figurines of gods and goddesses to be viewed on the same plane as human beings ascending the main staircase of the Ashmolean museum.
Other pictures can be seen here: