Cyclops sat by his stone stove on his stone chair,
ate black bracken broth mixed with red kidney stew
with a wood spoon from a wood bowl,
in his cave half way up a hill.
When one describes such an ogre what can one do?
“Humans, goats, sheep, hawks, even vipers have two,
so why have I but one eye?
Why so singular am I
beneath the blue but unresponsive sky?”
he groaned, his belly bloated and fed.
He lived by himself, so no one heard what he said.
His friend, the centaur, he visited,
far down in the vale,
hoping his dim wisdom
had grown less pale.
“This riddle I cannot solve.
Why with only one eye did I evolve?”
he asked him, in a dolorous tone.
“Why ask me who is half human, half horse?
How can I riddle right?” the centaur replied,
who to himself was always right, of course.
Cyclops stumped off, felt alone, with none on his side.
The faun was no help, being half human, half goat.
“It is as if we are all in a myth some human wrote,”
instead, off the subject, he said.
Nor was the Minotaur any more sure,
being half human, half bull.
The question Cyclops asked him
drained all thought from his brain
till only sleep was left in his skull.
Cyclops retired to his cave,
thinking every image in his eye
was sacred to save.
The bird that lays eggs on the shore
told me any truth was rarely pure.
Its bill drooped like a pelican,
its tail fairer than a peacock’s fan.
The time was the time of Troy,
I was a shepherd boy.
I played my pipe on a slope.
I knew if down a well I fell,
a passer by may hear my cry,
tell me not to struggle,
let down a rope.
An old man, a smile on his mouth,
said he had journeyed from the south.
To think the Trojans fell for the trick,
they seem now dumber than a brick,
the Greek ploy of the wooden horse,
seems simple to work out now, of course.
Such were the words he said to me,
voice like waves of a far off sea.
They should have chose a better fate
than to drag it through the city gate.
Set fire to it with a defiant roar,
made it stand a beacon on the shore,
for the Greeks to see red fire and black smoke
that rose on high for the sky to choke.
Dismayed, they would have known for sure,
they had lost the siege and the war.
Never take for granted what may seem,
he warned, then I woke from my dream.
Quotes from Philosophers and Poets
I am pleased that my two epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey, are still being read, but I am not too keen on some of the translations.
Home To Penelope: A Homeric Ode In B Flat Major
Home I came over the famed
Homeric wine dark sea,
Odysseus as I am named,
to be with you, Penelope,
to rumour from my halls
that suitors would my rivals be.
On the plain before Troy’s walls
or on the waves, huge and free,
I had fallen to my end,
they wished, so one of them
could take the place of me.
But not even Polyphemus,
the Cyclops in his cave,
could do more than dent my knee.
Now, free of beggarly disguise,
I wait in our grand Olympian bed
for you to let fall your robe,
your waiting widow sorrow shed.