Before day breaks the fountains
begin their daily task:
the casting up of thin
ethereal table-settings;

plait the effeminate shards
of the water together
to make a wineglass of them,
then a crystal wine-carafe,
from which they pour unstinting:
applause self-generated.

They flaunt themselves, hide in the mist;
they scold with drunken tinkling
and at last are silent,
calm from their boasting, waiting
for the fall of twilight

– a dark and perfumed woman
calling for all her eunuchs.

From Cameo (1993)
By Peter Ghyssaert

Translated by Tanis Guest

First published in The Low Countries, 1997

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