Tag Archives: The Odyssey

“Cyclops”

“Cyclops (Blinded by Odysseus)”
[A monologue in blank verse by Paul Burgess]

[painting: Polyphemus, Johan Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein]

…More like a twig or crunchy bread than bone—

Reducing them to mush, I didn’t strain

My jaws on brittle bones as slight as theirs.

One man provided meat too scarce to hush

The growling beast inside my angry gut.

Who would expect the hero Ulysses—

Of prophecies divining tragedy—

To be the head of men a mouthful’s size?

Though blind, there’s something that I clearly see:

The cause of drastic effects might be small.

[A second attempt to explore the scene also examined in this poem:

https://paulwhitberg.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/the-blinding-of-the-cyclops-polyphemus/

At some point, I will likely try again to bring out the possible layers of interpretation contained in this classic scene from Homer.

“The Blinding of the Cyclops Polyphemus”

Modern Heroic Couplets by Paul Burgess–inspired by a scene in Homer [Book 9 of The Odyssey; one might view these lines as a compressed adaptation and modernization of a much longer passage.]

While clutching at his mutilated eye,
To Ulysses, the Cyclops gave reply:
“An oracle, whose words I could recite,
Predicted that the man who’d take my sight
Would be the famous hero Ulysses.
From mini morsels, shorter than my knees,
I had no fear of death or even harm—
A shadow might have caused me more alarm!
Assuming only force could make me blind,
I was not ready for a deadly mind.

 

–Anyone interested in Homer, Classical Poetry, or Early Modern English Literature* should check out George Chapman’s brilliant translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey. The following link leads to information on an inexpensive edition of the translation so famously praised by Keats: http://www.amazon.com/Chapmans-Homer-Odyssey-Classics-Literature/dp/1840221178/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401367076&sr=1-3&keywords=wordsworth+classics+chapman%27s+homer

*from the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods in which Shakespeare was one among several brilliant minds

“Achilles in the Underworld” [adapting some lines from Homer]

“Achilles in the Underworld—A Modernization of Some Lines from Achilles (in the Odyssey) [Book 11 642-45]

I’d rather have a humbler life on Earth
As one who serves someone of nobler birth
Or labors hard to earn his daily bread
Than reign as first in fame among the dead.