14. "Speaking with Authority"

689 0 0

Centering Swift-Footed Achilles,
Warrior Prince of Phthia:

Agamemnon returns from stone to flesh
          and stumbles
     for the lack of a scepter to prop up his bulk.

I hold the gold-studded symbol the only way I know how,
          as a weapon,
          as deadly as my now-sheathed sword,
     ready to separate a foeman's brains from his shattered skull.

     All around,
our countrymen shift their gaze to me,
          fearful of what I might do next,
     knowing that some god must be on my side,
          but I am pledged to obey the goddess
          and to slay my foe with only my words.

"Lord Agamemnon!
     You have the face of a dog and the heart of a deer!
     While your brave warriors fight in ambuscade,
          you cheer our efforts from within your tent,
          with a wine-cup in hand,
               and shout for our speedy return,
               so you might demand the largest share of our glory.
     When we raid wealth and sustenance from the countryside,
          we put our bodies at risk,
               knowing all the while
     that you will raid our pockets in turn.
          A strong people will not long endure a feeble leader,
               who shuns all contact with the enemy
               even as he exhorts his followers to their deaths.
          And the bravest of us all,
               the one who stands up to your tyranny,
                    is the one you would steal from the most.
     This gold-studded scepter
          has been held aloft by great leaders of men
               and also by yourself.
     By it, I will swear a great oath:
          Upon this scepter of kings,
                    carrying,
               as it does,
          the authority of the gods,
     there will come a day when the sons of Atreus
          and all followers of the Achaean cause
          will long for Achilles
               to save them from the might of Trojan Hector,
     and Achilles be back home in far-away Phthia,
     and all will be sorry
          that the best of the Achaeans
               was driven from this field
          by a drunkard with a cur’s mask and a doe's courage."

I open my hand
          and let the scepter fall
     onto the ground,
          a dead stick stripped naked of its bark,
               shorn of its leaves,
               shorn of its life,
               shorn of its power.

EPIC CYCLE ROADMAP:

* 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.
Please Login in order to comment!