Gastromancy, vibration in the gut
….. Tuned to the presence of the dead,
Possessed the medium to utter what,
….. Digested, triggered hope or dread
In questioners delighted or aghast
….. At all they thought they finally knew.
To tell the future or reveal the past
….. Was dangerous. The darkest clue
Doomed sacrificial youths and beasts.
….. Dim ravings, guttural, abrupt,
Translated to hexameters by priests
….. In versions polished and corrupt
Proved riddles no less difficult to crack.
….. The truth was rarely clear or kind.
Cautious Lysander wound up stabbed in the back,
….. Croesus conquered, Oedipus blind.