The Cumaean Sibyl

Who are you?
Here on a high shelf
In webbed flask I
Hook up my folded self
Bat-leather dry.

Who were you?
The gold god goaded me
Sang shrieking sang high
His heat corroded me
Not mine his cry.

What do you see?
I saw the firmament
Steady the sky
I saw the cerement
Close Caesar’s eye.

What do you hope?
Desire is a dowsed fire
True love a lie
To a dusty shelf we aspire
I crave to die.

— Christabel LaMotte
(A. S. Byatt, Possession)

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