posted on December 30, 2008 at 7:45 pm

odysseus awakes in the remarkable stillness of dawn
calypso is gone from the bed
he has never seen the nymph sleep
all is so quiet
lost track of the days
lost track of the love
lost track of the sea
lost track of…
he gets up from her soft bed
where she has loved gods
where she has loved heroes from ages past
her bed where she never sleeps only loves
odysseus looks in her mirror
his tanned battered intelligent face
his straight nose
his frowning eyes
his planes and angles
he’s seen better days
moving slowly as if in a dream
dreams of struggling
never fulfilling the task
never getting it done
never never never
let that word echo round her cave
things in the mirror flicker
things in the mirror change
odysseus sees himself an old old man
his strong limbs withered
his robust body weakened
his unswerving gaze now rheumy and faltering
calypso appears behind him, the old man
unchanged for all the years
she steps out of her robe
the old odysseus watched her in the mirror
she goes to her bed and lays down
she beckons to him
she lies on her side and beckons to him
come yes come she says and he hears her only in his mind
as the old man watches in the mirror
his younger self goes to the immortal nymph
through tears and years the old man sees them
lovely lady of the sea and shore
calypso so soft and hard
she moans just like a mortal woman
the mirror changes as if filled with vapour
the mirror reveals an empty bed
voices all around whisper in odysseus’ ear
words he cannot understand
he reaches out but the caves walls seem to move
in the mirror he goes out into her wonderful garden
he looks at her flowers
that pulsate in strange colours and vibrancy
the flowers move in unison to the first breezes of the day
everything has changed
odysseus feels open
everything is coming in
this wondrous bower
the grapes which grow on trellises
her sheep and goats graze for the wool
that the lady spins upon her loom
her birds
for the lady must have song
but when she sings all else is silent in the world
and her voice shames the nightingales
2 tiny rivers run through her garden from a spring
” my garden is an inclosed spring, my love” she had said
holding his hand to her
odysseus remembered this and smiled
he watched the nymphs minnows dart in her silver streams
he put his head down to the waters and
he drank from her crystal spring deeply
as he lifted his head
in the rippling reflections
he saw her form once again
move like a dream
across his life
calypso weaving
calypso singing
calypso brushing her dark hair in the mirror
calypso walking with her goats
calypso at midday as she swam in the sea
calypso in the long afternoons of her endless summer
calypso telling him of times long ago
of jason of theseus of perseus
all she had known
the isle was alive
and everything there did its mistress’ bidding
the fruit grew and was sustained by her powers
the elementals obeyed her
the rain fell only when she desired
odysseus went down to the shore
as he did every day
as he had done for thousands of days
the sea stretched away
away away away
he could not even remember
why he had wanted to leave

36 Responses to “on the isle of marvels”

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