The other day, in a poetry workshop I am teaching, we were discussing dramatic monologue. Among several other examples that we read together was one I wrote a few years ago: “Love-Song for a Wanderer.” It is written from the perspective of Penelope, the faithful wife of Odysseus, celebrated forever by Homer in his epic poetry. A few days later, one of my dear students, Abigail Hullinger, sent me a link to a song sung as if by Odysseus (who is also known as Ulysses). In the midst of a long silence as I am, it touched my heart to hear these two literary figures in dialogue, however imagined their conversation may be.
LOVE-SONG FOR A WANDERER
To me, you are Odysseus.
I have been waiting twenty years
for you to come home.
And you come to me.
Now I touch your scars—
I know the memory of your skin.
Your scars are beautiful under my fingertips.
Tell me the stories of your adventures in the shadow-kingdom
and the way of your ship on the waves.
Calypso wishes she could hear you now.
But I am the one
listening to your voice.
I never wove a shroud for you.
Now you have returned
over the sea, shining, to me.
I dreamed you were an eagle.
And here, you have
settled in my olive tree.
from Josh Garrels,
Love & War & the Sea in Between