Monday, January 13, 2020

Jack Harvey writes

Penelope Again

She woke up early
in the morning,
the tree-bed holding her;
how far across the sea
his roving oar.

Did she batten on the dawn,
feed geese
coming across the lawn,
touch the raveled work
on which heroes and battles
were limned?

The door opens this day;
in its white frame
the bright blue sky
startles the shaded eye,
makes the mind, the heart
forget the pain, the time gone by.

In the highest heavens
the gods carom like bosons,
making up their minds.

The die once cast,
the magical black ship
quick as a falcon,
pilotless, rudderless,
already under way.
Odysseus, at ease,
sits in the stern;
in the wake,
tireless, mysterious,
one wine-dark following wave.

That bold wily man,
knees strung like bowstrings,
speeds over the sea,
coming closer;
closer yet
dog, pig-man and shepherd;
before supper
the great game, greater
than a maze, a rite
waiting to be played;
over the floor
the axe heads hang
high as geese.
Flickering like firelight
the arrows leaping
leave a long mark,
a curtain of blood,
a flood of death.

But this morning calm
the sea lies,
like a blue hand.
Will the day
be bright, the boisterous
gallants gone
like the wind?

She rests in wisdom
by the window;
the windy day,
her steadfast hope,
far off.
Image result for penelope painting Penelope - Then During the Day She Wove the Large Web which at Night she Unravelled - The Odyssey -- Thomas Seddon

1 comment:

  1. When the Trojan War began king Odysseus of Ithaca, in order to remain with his wife Penelope and newborn son Telemachus, tried to avoid his obligation to join the expedition by plowing salt in his fields, thus feigning insanity. But Palamedes placed Telemachus in front of the plow, forcing Odysseus to save his son's life and reveal his ploy. But Odysseus framed Palamedes by hiding gold in his tent and forging a letter from king Priam of Troy that seemed to bribe him into persuading the Greeks to abandon the war, thus enabling Odysseus to stone him to death as a traitor. After 10 years of war, Odysseus devised a scheme to trick the Trojans into allowing the Greeks into their city, hidden inside a giant horse. But he was forced to spend the next 10 years wandering, while his wife devised various strategies to prevent any of the 108 suitors from marrying her. For example for 3 years she pretended to weave a burial shroud for Odysseus's elderly father Laertes, claiming that she will choose a suitor when it is finished but undoing her work at night. When Odysseus finally returned home he disguised himself as a beggar, and Penelope told him she would marry anyone who could string Odysseus's rigid bow and shoot an arrow through 12 axe heads. After accomplishing the task, Odysseus killed the suitors and revealed his true identity to Penelope. Homeros hinted that Odysseus, Penelope, and Telemachus then lived happily ever after, but later writers disputed this. Duris, a 4th-century BCE historian who ruled Samos, claimed that Penelope had slept with all 108 of her suitors and gave birth to Pan, the 1/2-goat deity of the wild, while Pausanias insisted that Odysseus banished her to Mantineia.


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