Odysseus to Telemachus
My dear Telemachus,
The Trojan War
is over now; I don't recall who won it.
The Greeks, no doubt, for only they would leave
so many dead so far from their own homeland.
But still, my homeward way has proved too long.
While we were wasting time there, old Poseidon,
it almost seems, stretched and extended space.
I don't know where I am or what this place
can be. It would appear some filthy island,
with bushes, buildings, and great grunting pigs.
A garden choked with weeds; some queen or other.
Grass and huge stones . . . Telemachus, my son!
To a wanderer the faces of all islands
resemble one another. And the mind
trips, numbering waves; eyes, sore from sea horizons,
run; and the flesh of water stuffs the ears.
I can't remember how the war came out;
even how old you are--I can't remember.
Grow up, then, my Telemachus, grow strong.
Only the gods know if we'll see each other
again. You've long since ceased to be that babe
before whom I reined in the plowing bullocks.
Had it not been for Palamedes' trick
we two would still be living in one household.
But maybe he was right; away from me
you are quite safe from all Oedipal passions,
and your dreams, my Telemachus, are blameless.
to “So What” by Miles Davis
A hundred runners passing me.
This isn’t really competition.
I’m only running to be fit.
So why be annoyed?
I never aimed to beat the pack.
No way in hell that I could catch them.
So don’t feel sorry for yourself.
Just keep on running.
Despite whatever they may think,
I’m not too bad for a beginner.
Now I just need to clear my mind,
and concentrate on what I’m doing.
Now that my pity party’s done,
I can get going on to business.
I lift my eyes to the skyline,
and remember this:
So, let your imaginations and feelings run wild. If you are inspired by a particular instrumental song, feel free to co-opt its rhythms or tonal colors to create your lyric poem. Otherwise, just look inside yourself. I am a firm believer that anyone can be a poet. Good poetry just takes honesty and a willingness to think and write outside the box. C'mon, show me what you've got.