Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Friday, June 15, 2007

after “the anger of achilles” by jacques-louis david

clytemnestra gazes down upon the boy
warrior, achilles’ face – her tearful eyes.

achilles doesn’t see the matron, or his bride
he reaches for his sword, his sharp pupils killing king

agamemnon, on the right of them all,
gives achilles one proud look
king agamemnon knows this boy won’t swing

someday, the proud stallion will buck
today, the boy will half-unsheathe his sword
then, he’ll stamp away

clytemnestra knows this, too.
and her eyes carry that sad accusation:
iphigenia is just a deer to those men
“you, achilles, anger because agamemnon
did not ask your permission first
with something you thought was yours

“if you truly loved iphigenia,
you would swing that sword.
after your ceremonial anger, agamemnon
is still the king; achilles,
vassal, bequeaths bride, boat,
life, for the man that kills his daughter
as easily as he tossed her
to patrocles’ murderous lover.”

iphigenia looks away pale and grief-stricken

also, relieved

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