Goddess of light, Renewer of the mind,
Now, as of old, Desire of gods and men,
Return to earth, shine, bless and bring again
The festivals of love, the rites of kind!
Since now no more in field or sacred grove
Do men perform them, naked, fervent, proud:
Packed in a plush arena now, the crowd
Sit chewing or gape to see the sports of love.
The Olympian game brings all together at last;
For Lonely Heart today may join the team,
Lover by proxy now enact his dream,
Ex-player once more live over all the past.
The amateurs who practise in parked cars
Gather to watch the smooth professional game.
What if real life is never quite the same—
An orchestra accompanies the stars.
An umpire watches for the least mistake,
The ambulance is there if they should fall;
These players only have to watch the ball,
Hero and heroine in the brilliant fake.
See the hot favourite who always wins
Lead out the Bedroom Harriers with trained ease;
The Golden Girls run on with twinkling knees;
The Love Team takes the field, the sport begins.
The sexual athlete takes her by the hand,
Crosses the line and scores the first embrace;
Fountains of youth and reservoirs of grace,
The schoolgirls cheer them from the Members’ Stand.
See how they run! With what delicious airs
She leads him on! Now Villainy makes a pass,
Tackles her low and lays her on the grass;
Still chewing, the crowd lean forward in their chairs.
All will be well: the muscular child of light
Arriving just when she seems doomed to yield,
As Lust, disqualified, limps from the field,
Kisses away her tears and holds her tight.
Now in the final play their lips are met—
The grandstand holds its breath, the field grows dark,
The ball between the bed-posts finds the mark
To win the match, love all, love game and set!
The watchers all go wild, they leap and scream;
The flabby muscles that never learned to play,
Now tense, now drunk with make-believe, obey
The all-compelling, all-compensating dream:
Winner take all! all win where none take part,
All play at love where love is only play;
Who cares if, grace and violence drained away,
This debt is charged against the bankrupt heart?
Goddess of kind, whom twilight and the dawn
Bare to our eyes, if, as of old, you still
Keep holiday with men, descend and fill
The loins with light, with honey the curving horn.