Nietzsche after Turin, On Reading his Zarathustra.

Dancing maenad. Detail from an ancient Greek Paestum red figure skyphos, made by Python, c. 330-320 BC. British Museum, London

Mit Nietzsche ist es aus.
F. Overbeck to H. Köselitz, January, 1889

They came to gather me with pitying looks,
those two Maenads, sister and mother.
I am at long last their docile, compliant pet,
captive among the parlor cushions.

They take turns mopping my posthumous brow,
the mawkish mother, the mocking sister,
the latter’s silly, pestilential husband at his desk,
smiling over his pince-nez at all the bustle and fuss.

We had visitors today: a little flock of grackles,
jackbooted, fawning, prurient, deferential,
pressing their filthy lips to the all-too-willing hands
of these blushing women in their Lutheran bonnets.

The grackles did not see me watching them.
I assumed a noble pose, aquiline, staring into eternity,
regaling them with nonsense at the keyboard.
They concealed their horror in reverent fascination.

I seem to have departed all at once their world,
so quickly there’s just an equine music in my ears now.
It is no longer possible to see past you, dear beast,
past the inevitable, the invisible, the impossible.

It is as if there had only been you and me here always,
always and once more, always you and I and this spider
on the window-sill in this moonlight, you with your
bright mane tossing, and the wheeling burning log of me.