"Helen"

Juicy life trickles down the altar, 

sacrifices to appease Fate’s scarlet lust.

Their gaze drips onto me, an eye at a time,

loving, scathing, flashes of disgust.


Liquid droplets dangle from my ears,

comforting burdens on my once carefree head.

A shiny trophy must be kept polished

Or her purpose is null, her beauty a deathbed.


His heated tears are a frozen dagger,

a serrated, splintery, straining pain

crusting my heart with icy diamond,

the regret an acrid taste of shame.


The Lion’s bellowing laugh heats the room

But I evade the hot rays of his compassion

And a croak emerges from the back of my eyes,

To be quickly schooled into my porcelain dispassion.


A poem by Anna Pattle, 16


The story behind it:

"When Telemachus visits Menelaus in Book 4 of the Odyssey, he hears about Menelaus’ recollections of his friend Odysseus from the Trojan war. During this time, Helen remains the perfect host to Telemachus, and seems perfectly content. She perfectly fulfils the role of dutiful wife. However, Telemachus starts to cry because he misses his father. I was inspired by this part of the story and decided to write a poem from Helen’s point of view, detailing her feelings about the consequences of the Trojan war and her guilt. This is just inspiration from the book and not ever mentioned in the original translation, but I thought it would be fun to interpret her feelings and behaviour in my own way."




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