Foolishly her father had left Ragno’s loom with her,
a half-finished portrait of some Egyptian queen on it,
fondling a serpent as it rested its head on her bare bosom,
and Ragno smashed the loom in her anguish and wrath,
destroying the work for she would weave no more after this.
Then she took a ball of dark red yarn
– red like blood, red like wine –
and prayed the gods to make her thread strong
as she fashioned it into a rope.
And they complied.
She strung the thread-woven rope from the rafters
and made a noose for her slender neck
– a lovely throat, oh soft flesh never kissed! –
and she ended her life by swinging like a broken doll.
But the goddess who had heard and answered was not done with Ragno.
She recognized in the girl something of herself,
something dark and mad and beautiful,
an artist whose work should not perish from the earth
and so Ariadne, the golden wife of Dionysos, the Aphrodite of the underworld,
put on a material form and scooped up the frail body of fair Ragno in her arms,
cutting her loose and laying her out on the floor
like a delicate flower arrangement.
Ariadne covered her cooling flesh in a salve
of aconite and other poisonous herbs
and then touched her soft lips to those of the girl,
breathing divine life into her body.
Ragno awoke to the world once more,
as Ariadne had done so long before on Naxos,
loosed from the halls of Haides by the love of the bull,
but everything was different for Ragno
since she now saw with four sets of eyes.
– Sannion, La pizzica tarantata