Laocöon the Forsaken

What untimely punishment

Befell the priest Laocöon.

How the man must lament

That son, father, and son

Suffer as one but won’t repent.

How could he, that truth-telling sage,

Take back the fatal words?

Troy should be convinced by age—

If not by priestly cords.

And yet, the serpents rage.

Upturned faces, agony

Straining, reaching, clawing.

Why have you forsaken me—

Tell me why this suffering?

Asks priest of the frothing sea.

The gods with cruel and shifting whims

Ensnare the truthful, innocent

Away the serpents writhe and swim—

Away the serpents, heaven-sent

The gods, they never answered him…

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