Tuesday, 24 June 2014

A new Odysseus poem

Differences between Achilles and myself


I watch him sharpen his spear
as its blade rests across his right, muscled thigh,
the wooden shaft moving across his lap
and beyond his side — as we sit we laugh, we soldiers,
about our wooden tails that poke out behind
his spittle falls on the blade to ease away the friction
and allow the stone’s difference to have influence.

The stone slides back and forth, back and forth
until the metal or the stone  for who can say
gives up a sigh…and I know
he sharpens in preparation for the blood he will spill;
seeks it still despite the many —
ah poor Hector who should have been the last,
you, who were first among many for so many of us
who have already succumbed to his thrust
whereas I sit beside him
and sharpen my blade in the hope
it may prevent the spillage of my own blood.

I do not seek
unless it can be said seeking
is an act to forestall whereas he seeks not to forestall
but hunts death —
his or others I think he cares not which
with the ferocity of the lion
as it prepares to bring down the lamb.

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