Eyes the color of winter water,
eyes the winter of water where I

Quoits in the Spartan month
Hyacinthius, the game
joins us, pronounces

us god and boy: I toss him
the discus thinking This is mine
and the wind says Not yet

Memory with small hairs
pasted to pale wet skin
(the flower hyacinthos,
perhaps a fritillaria, not
the modern Hyacinthus orientalis)

After he smells of orange groves,
spreads white ass meat for me
him with a hole drilled in him I try
to fill: I ease my way into his orchard

(the ornamental Liliaceae
genera, including the spring
-flowering Crocus and Hyacinthus,
and the summer-flowering
Hemerocallis or day lily; also
Amaryllis, Hippeastrum, and Narcissus)

A blow struck by jealous Zephyrus, or
Boreas, by other accounts:
his skin annotated by the wound
that explicates his mortality
in red pencil, wind edits him down to
withering perennial, shriveled bulb

(perhaps a pre-Hellenic god, his
precise relationship to Apollo
still obscure, though clearly
a subordinate)

Him with a hole I keep trying
to make, dead meat of white

blooms in hand

(onion as well, garlic, leek,
chive, and asparagus)

And where he was
this leafless stalk (bluebell,
tulip, torch lily, trillium:
snowdrop, Solomon’s
seal) I break to take for my own,
black at the core of blossoming

(a bell-shaped nodding flower,
usually solitary)

Analysis, meaning and summary of Reginald Shepherd's poem Apollo On What The Boy Gave

1 Comment

  1. E. Teach says:

    This poem seems very strange to me. It’s scientific and feminine. The descriptions are beautiful and exact; however, the underlying meanings are differentiating. From one angle, it seems that the speaker could be God or simply a teacher, and the boy in the poem is his pupil whom he is trying to imbue a knowledge or value into. In the end, it appears that this knowledge was successfully passed onto the pupil; howeever, it did not effect his actions or personality since he proves to be quite static. Another angle leads to believe that perhaps there is a meaning of homosexuality in this poem. The speaker was trying to express his love to this boy, but the boy was unmoved. It seems to have a romantic sorrow in both cases. Regardless of the meaning, the poem is beautifully written and visually splendid.

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