Odysseus’ Apology to Calypso

Odysseus and Calypso, Max Beckmann

Rewrite this one for me. The song
of how I left long before you let me.
Invoke an image of those nights spent
on Ogygia, that long pronunciation
that you kept repeating for me as if
I could understand. Ogygia,
that isle of greenery and pain
where I knew you. The hours spent
walking me through the garden,
your robe levitating by some breezy hand
the same hand that reached
to pull me from the tide. A memory
of salvation confused into
entrapment. Rewrite this.
The windstorms howling into hollow waves.
How I would swim out those days
told you I was testing my strength
against the sea. You knew I wanted to die
but wouldn’t let me.
Always waking in your arms
on the wrong shore beneath a twisting sky.
This was promise. This was eternity
though I didn’t want any of it.
They get their way you told me
before urging I build a ship
as if this thought had never crossed my mind.
Truly, it hadn’t and besides
you loved those trees. The alders
and black poplars which I hacked
and fitted to form the hull.
On the last day, I knew
my departure was real when you
brought the sheets from our bed
for the sail. Then, I left.
Rewrite this. For several days, I followed the stars
as you directed, heaving the ship
along that hungry sea. From time to time,
I’d rest against the mast, let the sail
flog itself in the wind just so I could
catch a scent of home.