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The Siren-Song’s Grand Promenade

I consider this poem a prelude to Odysseus’s return from Troy, and I place it chronologically between the events of the Trojan War and his encounter with the sirens.

I have gone to Troy, observed the cost of war,
seen thousands of lives devastated by senseless bloodshed,
watched the multitudes cast into Hades and the Sea
according to the capricious whims of Strife and Envy
and the sins of vainglorious kings and princesses,
where the fortresses of men and demons
were crushed by the apples of their eyes,
the gnashing teeth of cataclysmic despair.

Circe had warned me to beware,
to stay on course,
to remain alert and prepare
for threats lurking ‘round every corner,
approaching from afar
to prey upon my crew and me.

‘Twas her sweet refrain that rings in my ears,
the words that cast a shadow like a prophecy,
about the creatures I shalt certainly face:

O’ the sweet refrain,
of you what remains?

siren-songs snatch from
fated ships sea-farers

bones split in twain,
marrow on the morrow’s

quiet kiss:
certain death.

What is a man to do
when every decision he is bound to make
is predicted to be a step
in the wrong direction,
when prophet and prophetess
foresee inevitable ruin
as the outcome of my unintentional trespass?

My spirit is weary from fighting;
my bones ache with frustration
as my mind exhausts itself
by ruminating with anticipation
about that fateful day,
when I arrive in Ithaca,
when the distance closes
and my perilous journey ends,
when I reunite with you — my family —,
whose faces are fading from my memory,
whose voices are coming forth from the horizon
as I think of you now, as a familiar symphony.

Please remember me,
my precious wife and son!

Do not forsake me,
my beloved,
for I have not given up on you yet.
Although it feels as if a lifetime
has passed us by,
wait just a little bit longer!

My prayers are far from stale:

I shall not be deterred by fear,
nor by sky-high tall tales.
I have placed my hope against the odds,
hopefully on the side of the gods,
and I will not fail!

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