The Oral Tradition

The faces of bearded pre-Mycenean warriors
Who had nothing to do with some Trojan idyll,
Beloved of tomb hunters and black marketeers,
Began the death-sleep caked in precious metal,
Gold at which Achilles, in his day, turned up his nose,
Thug with no love of booty for its own sake.
The true prize was not add-on property
To haul away in creaking ships, —it was
The wind-bent grass of the endless steppes
The fathers of his fathers knew,
The horses with quick-silvery manes and flying feet
And snatches of poetry in their ears.