At Eleusis

What they did,
they did for Dionysos,
for ecstasy's sake.

now take the basket,
think;
think of the moment you count
most foul in your life;
conjure it,
supplicate,
pray to it;
your face is bleak you retract,
you dare not remember it:

stop;
it is too late
The next stands by the altar step,
a child's face yet not innocent,
it will prove adequate, but you,
I could have spelt your peril at the gate,
yet for your mind's sake,
though you could not enter,
wait

What they did,
they did for Dionysos,
for ecstasy's sake

Now take the basket—
(ah face in a dream,
did I not know your heart,
I would falter,
for each that fares onward
is my child;
ah can you wonder
that my hands shake,
that my knees tremble,
I a mortal, set in the goddess' place?)
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