7. "The Old King atop the Wall"

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Centering Priam,
King of Troy:

Atop the wall
     away from the sadness of the city,
     as an old and beaten king,
I stand and wonder
         how long can a broken heart
         keep beating?

As a young prince,
as a survivor of war,
     I lost my brothers
         to the invaders,
         to the company of Heracles.
     And so I became a king.
     And so I rebuilt the walls,
         one block at a time,
         with the help of the gods
         to keep the Achaeans out.
     And so I rebuilt my family,
         one child at a time,
              with my wives,
              with my mistresses,
              with my concubines,
         fifty children,
              and their wives and husbands,
              and grandchildren at play,
         kept safe within the walls,
     forever protected from harm,
all to keep me
  from ever feeling alone again.

The god-built wall remains intact,
     in the tenth year of the siege,
but offers scant protection  
     from sadness
          for sons and grandsons
          lost on the Troad plain.

Atop the wall,
     my heart
          hollow and empty,
     but for how long?


* The Kypria
* The Iliad
* The Posthomerica
* Tales of Nostos
* The Odyssey
* The Telegony
* The Aeneid
  Rage is the first book of the Iliad. Amazons is the first book of the Posthomerica.

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