The Thirteenth Labor
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The Thirteenth Labor1
Jonathan Wells
For Hercules, the thirteenth labor,
        is allowing the mortal lovers to go
back to their separate beds unreconciled,
        to leave well enough alone,
                to let their oaths uncouple
        from their stars, to abandon the
                            strange planets
            to the idiosyncrasies of their orbits.
        To shun2 the power that Zeus
had given, Hercules searches for fortitude3
        along an ordinary shore where all waves
reach their breaking point, some staring
        with demonic eyes
                        while others lap
the beach rhapsodically.
        Recovering, he asks
the heavens for extra strength, not sleight4
                        of hand or muscles he’d flexed5 before
cleaning or slaughtering6 or filching7
        the golden apples of the nymphs.
                    He prays for
a mind that would leave the lovers
                    alone with their distrust.
        But that is another fantasy
of self-possession, of holding himself in check,
                    letting love be love; love refused, or
        breathing lightly or unloved
                    like unpicked apples. The lovers’ slurs8,
staccato, strike the night and he is
                    certain that turning away
        is his one impossible labor.


1 labor P9Tzs     
  • We are never late in satisfying him for his labor.我们从不延误付给他劳动报酬。
  • He was completely spent after two weeks of hard labor.艰苦劳动两周后,他已经疲惫不堪了。
2 shun 6EIzc     
  • Materialists face truth,whereas idealists shun it.唯物主义者面向真理,唯心主义者则逃避真理。
  • This extremist organization has shunned conventional politics.这个极端主义组织有意避开了传统政治。
3 fortitude offzz     
  • His dauntless fortitude makes him absolutely fearless.他不屈不挠的坚韧让他绝无恐惧。
  • He bore the pain with great fortitude.他以极大的毅力忍受了痛苦。
4 sleight MEFyT     
  • With a little statistical sleight of hand they could make things look all right.只要在统计上耍些小小的花招,他们就能瞒天过海。
  • In the theater of the media there is an economic sleight of hand.传播媒介在经济上耍了一个大花招。
5 flexed 703e75e8210e20f0cb60ad926085640e     
adj.[医]曲折的,屈曲v.屈曲( flex的过去式和过去分词 );弯曲;(为准备大干而)显示实力;摩拳擦掌
  • He stretched and flexed his knees to relax himself. 他伸屈膝关节使自己放松一下。 来自辞典例句
  • He flexed his long stringy muscles manfully. 他孔武有力地弯起膀子,显露出细长条的肌肉。 来自辞典例句
6 slaughtering 303e79b6fadb94c384e21f6b9f287a62     
v.屠杀,杀戮,屠宰( slaughter的现在分词 )
  • The Revolutionary Tribunal went to work, and a steady slaughtering began. 革命法庭投入工作,持续不断的大屠杀开始了。 来自英汉非文学 - 历史
  • \"Isn't it terrific slaughtering pigs? “宰猪的! 来自汉英文学 - 中国现代小说
7 filching c9d334d1d480ace9336d2cc8183143bb     
v.偷(尤指小的或不贵重的物品)( filch的现在分词 )
  • The boys were in the habit of filching fruit from the peddler's carts. 那些男孩们有偷小贩车上水果的习惯。 来自互联网
8 slurs f714abb1a09d3da4d64196cc5701bd6e     
含糊的发音( slur的名词复数 ); 玷污; 连奏线; 连唱线
  • One should keep one's reputation free from all slurs. 人应该保持名誉不受责备。
  • Racial slurs, racial jokes, all having to do with being Asian. 种族主义辱骂,种族笑话,都是跟亚裔有关的。
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