Tuesday, April 14, 2009

And Martha Must Wait

Euryclea clap't her hands
But refrained from remarking upon the scar.
And Homer, honoring the goodly nursemaid's restraint,
Tells instead of boar and spear:
A boy's being blooded to become a man.

Who would blindly chase his fate and lose his way
For ten long years, return, a beggar's foot
Fallen into a basin, even as his beloved Telemachus
Was soothed by the fiat of a redeemed Helen of Troy?

How could she then, who'd suckled the boy,
Stay her very own lips and not shout for joy
That the man now Master had returned?

A prodigal without a brother, a son-father who was also a God?

But return he did and silent she remained.

He threaded the bow
Ascended the stair,
His labors complete,
And there then found that for which he'd been made:

And Martha wonders how this
Could be the better portion.

But faithful Euryclea cleansed the foot only of a pre-cursor
Of truth
And was content.

And Martha must wait.

(image: "Ulysses Recognized by Euryclea," Eustave Boulanger, 1849. Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux-arts, Paris


Katy said...

I'll be reading that about seventeen more times before having a worthy response.

For now, I'll just say that it's lovely - and the seventeen readings will be a joy!


gregorbo said...

Well, I hope it's worth it! Thanks.

Linda Verlander said...

So great, Greg. Really! Inspires me to read again.

gregorbo said...

And write, I hope. And draw. I loved your A.E. Houseman. Keep it up. gb

Linda Verlander said...

Thanks! I will. I just have to find time...so hard (as you know)!

gregorbo said...

Linda--I don't know if theer come back to you. But I wanted my sisters to know that they are such an inspiration to me, as is my Mom, my wife, and my daughters. Plus the masters. To say nothing of men. That, later.

Adam Cooper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Cecilia Bonifield said...

I like this, Adam. I'm so sleepy but I must look back at the story of Martha and the dragon.
I think she rebuked the serpent unawares when she pleads with the Lord later at Lazarus' tomb. "Yes, I know about the last day but "we want him now' ", as an astute child understood her to add Oh those three friends!
Anyway, I think 'serpent' works to circle back from Christian myth/legend/hagiography to Genesis and tecall how it was undone when Gabriel made his annunciation before the other Mary

Mary Cecilia Bonifield said...

Gregory. I love this poem of yours!
Caroline Gordon, in her odd novel The Glory of Hera, (read it if you haven't already--it's not at all so good as her other novels but achieves her purpose and design to bring in from the scriptures --old and new testaments both--to paint the myth in the light of Christ. And to allow us to see the Greeks as prefiguring a fullness of time. And more, Zeus coming to know with certainty that he would not father the one who would unbind Prometheus.
one question: 'return, a beggar's foot' made me pause to work it out. I am sleepy but parse it, for me, please. Or tell me to wake up.