A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics
How had he looked to her when he’d come home?
He didn’t know, what with the way the gods
were forever cloaking men in mist, giving the old
a youthful glow. He wasn’t even sure
what he’d hoped of her after all those years –
but likely more than any mortal woman
could bestow. He had reached his household gates
at dusk, blind with rage and longing. Even now,
he can’t shake off the sour smell of his beggar’s shawl.
Watching her easy gestures by the fire, he still
carries a small, rag bundle of resentments.
He recalls, again, the hour he returned:
his old dog, Argos, dim-eyed and deaf,
had struggled to rise from his bed of refuse
and debris, and wagged his palsied tail
in recognition. That’s when the brave Odysseus
had shed a single, ignorant tear.
Only old Argos saw things as they are.
From Each Perfected Name by Richard St. John (Truman State). Reprinted in Vox Populi by permission of the author.