at first as a bright spot on the horizon, then nearer,
and brighter, and brighter, and nearer, and brighter,
and nearer, and nearer, until she alighted
on the deck, running, barefoot, her full-muscled legs
going past each other and slowing fast, as if she’d just come off a swing.
Laying a glass on its side, or ruffling up a cloth, so it wasn’t right,
but it was beautiful. Then she sat in the arrangement and waited.
It didn’t take long. A few breaths in and out, and then a great
whoosh, and a thump on the deck of the boat: a harpoon
had shot out of the sea and stuck in it. As soon
as it landed, its rope stretched as taut as a bowstring
and Venus looked down at the starboard sea,
and grasping the rope there was Repun Kamui.
of the water; then, as he hauled himself nearer,
it flicked into feet he could plant on the strake,
and his feet, rope and hands worked together to take
him up over the gunwale.
then bowed to the beauty of Venus, who seemed
not entirely sure who he was. “Hello”, she tried, “um…”
a feast!” he cried, and clapped his hands,
and into each and every dish
there rained divinely tasty fish.
Venus, rendering herself ever-so-slightly less beautiful for a moment, pulled a
“What’s wrong?” asked the whale-boy, as more splatted down.
“Raw fish!” exclaimed Venus. “They’re slimy. They’re smooshy”.
“Where I’m from”, he countered, “we call raw fish sushi”.
“Well it won’t do at all. I don’t like how it looks”,
said the looker, and went on, “God feasts need god cooks”.
as if a great oven door had swung open at the stern.
It came with an aroma as welcome and as sweet
As the scent of baking bread. They both turned
to greet them – not one kitchen god but two –
from China, Zao Jun of the stove, and who, else
alongside him, with her golden ladle
but India’s Annapoorna? They made for the tables
and started to fry up the feast.
And as soon as the sizzle began, from the East
drifted laughter and song,
and before very long,
a raft made of barrels was knocking against the ship’s port.
So just in case any amongst you had thought
There was something missing from this party, they’d come!
The gods of beer, and wine, and rum!
Bacchus, Sucellus, Dionysus,
Nin-kasi, and Yi-ti, who made wine from rices.
The Aztec Tezcatzontecatl was there,
and, of course, the Green Man, from whose copious hair
sprang grapevines that climbed up the side of the ship
and the gang of gods climbed them, up over the lip.
One wine-god more arrived then, bearing cheeses
– the god who bled wine. You may know him as Jesus.
A panoply of pantheons, set to get wrecked.
And in the hold with them were all the gods’ treasures:
magical marvels beyond any measure.
A cornucopia of cornucopias!
There were bowls that could never be emptied of grain,
There were cups full of wine that could never be drained,
Swords that would always best any fighter,
And best of all, there was… a lighter.
It was a glorious hoard of so much hoarded glory
That, never mind crazy – the gods must be Tory!
The glasses stopped clinking.
Bacchus stopped drinking.
Athena stopped thinking.
Shiva stopped dancing.
Macuilxochitl stopped chancing.
Mars stopped raging.
Geras stopped aging.
Odin stopped blowing.
The Green Man stopped growing.
Saturn stopped farming.
Aphrodite stopped charming.
Baldr stopped shining.
The Fates stopped twining.
Flora stopped gardening.
Priapus stopped hardening.
Loki stopped flashing.
Thor stopped crashing.
Thoth stopped learning.
Brigid stopped burning.
The Devil stopped lying.
The Angels stopped flying.
Jesus stopped bleeding.
The Muses stopped reading.
In short, and all together, the sea-gods stopped roaring,
The war gods stopped warring,
The gorgons stopped hissing,
And the love gods stopped kissing.