My cousins cautioned me about the red wine,
Counseled me on being too at ease
On ancestral land. Said lush vineyards grow
On Etna’s slopes, enriched by lava flows
And strange vapors steaming into the grapes
Produce a wine from the childhood of the world.
Whatever philosophy we were spewing
That I, drinking this, heard chaos talk,
Saw the sea burning in the crater of the sun,
Saw the mountain falling, space mounting;
Felt the wine venting, the winds of forgetting
Flying in the wine-dark sea of my mind–
I staggered on the cliff-side terrace—
Archimedes Theocritus Empedocles I slurred
The vertigo of history letting go,
Smelling sulfur, even there among clouds.