Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Odysseus With Achilles In The Underworld: A Change Of Heart

Odysseus With Achilles In The Underworld
Attica red-figure vase, ca 480 B.C.


His shade immortal turned toward me
& spoke of Trojan fame
how honor, pride unhappily
carried he by name.

And I stepped back and felt the thought
his shade immortal scrolled
like some fresh, blooding sacrifice
coursing and ensouled.

©2014 A Change Of Heart stephaniepope mythopoetry.com
#ohj honor, immortal


1. see Homer’s Odyssey Book XI – Nekuia http://www.theoi.com/Text/HomerOdyssey11.html
[465] …and there came up the spirit of Achilles, son of Peleus…
I made answer and said:`Achilles, son of Peleus, far the mightiest of the Achaeans, I came through need of Teiresias, if haply he would tell me some plan whereby I might reach rugged Ithaca. For not yet have I come near to the land of Achaea, nor have I as yet set foot on my own country, but am ever suffering woes; whereas than thou, Achilles, no man aforetime was more blessed nor shall ever be hereafter. For of old, when thou wast alive, we Argives honored thee even as the gods, and now that thou art here, thou rulest mightily among the dead. Wherefore grieve not at all that thou art dead, Achilles.’
[486] “So I spoke, and he straightway made answer and said: `Nay, seek not to speak soothingly to me of death, glorious Odysseus. I should choose, so I might live on earth, to serve as the hireling of another, of some portionless man whose livelihood was but small, rather than to be lord over all the dead that have perished.

photo credit

The embassy of Odysseus (on the left) to Achilles (sitting, on the right). Side B from an Attic red-figure pelike by the Tyszkiewicz Painter, ca. 480 BC. From Cerveteri. Stored in the Museo Nazionale Etrusco of the Villa Giulia.