bye Villa dei Misteri Fresco (Detail)          


The real motel.

Back to poem


And all this past
Is no more than the old Silenus mask
Held up by the boy
To frighten the young man (who expects
His own handsome face reflected back
From the bowl held up by the real old man,
Not this trick—soon enough no trick at all).
Reserve this poem.




Some interpreters believe that the boy at right is holding the mask at an angle that would cause it to reflect in the bowl the youth is gazing into—frightening the youth with what he may become.