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Climbing Olympus | by Giles Watson's poetry and prose
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Climbing Olympus

Climbing Olympus


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:


and here:


and here:


and here:

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Taken on May 30, 2010