The Queen of Carthage
by Louise Glück
Brutal to love,
more brutal to die.
And brutal beyond the reaches of justice
to die of love.
In the end, Dido
summoned her ladies in waiting
that they might see
the harsh destiny inscribed for her by the Fates.
She said, “Aeneas
came to me over the shimmering water;
I asked the Fates
to permit him to return my passion,
even for a short time. What difference
between that and a lifetime: in truth, in such moments,
they are the same, they are both eternity.
I was given a great gift
which I attempted to increase, to prolong.
Aeneas came to me over the water: the beginning
Now the Queen of Carthage
will accept suffering as she accepted favor:
to be noticed by the Fates
is some distinction after all.
Or should one say, to have honored hunger,
since the Fates go by that name also.”
"The Queen of Carthage" by Louise Glück, from Vita Nova. Copyright © 1999 by Louise Glück. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, www.harpercollins.com