lunes, 11 de noviembre de 2013

Helen’s words, long after the fall

Helen’s words, long after the fall
~ by Hakim

You see me now

as I am


but you can’t see the woman I was

nor the girl

she grew from.

Your eyes will never touch

the life I led

nor how I tried to live

before my path unrolled in front of me

and I


could only walk it.

I was not always an ugly old woman.

I was not always old.

Once I was young –

beautiful too,

so beautiful your breath

would stop in your throat

as hot visions coated your eyes –

brave men crossed the long waters

to see my smile

to do my bidding.

Why, once I even had the whole crowd

fighting over me –

and it’s true they wrecked the town

before they were through.

You have heard much of me,

I see it in your eyes,

but know it was not all as you have heard –

I was no whore, for never did I stray,

nor took coin or gift for anything improper.

I was a fresh young bride,

hardly a woman yet,

and knew nothing of the things

that were to come.

They still claim that I was she

who killed a state,

the royal family slain –

but I was only the fairest pawn,

just the girl who couldn’t step

into a room

without colliding with a wall of eyes,

the sharp sucking of breath

that reached to the root of every man –

his passion and desire.

Unpolished as I was –

though by those glances and hard looks

I was polished still –

yet only wanted to be loved

for something other than my skin.

Then my fate began to unroll,

when, taking Clytemnestra

my sister for his own bride,

Agamemnon saw me and said

(as one surveying fruits in a market stall)

“We shall have her as well, o King,

for my young brother.”

My father’s eyes


half hatred and half terror

to be so robbed –

and yet so honored by the great Agamemnon

and noble grinning Menelaus.

My father desperate,

needing that pact

those strong men

the venture

the trade that comes with conquest

new markets east and north

and tribute…

But Agamemnon paid the price

for eastward winds

with his virgin daughter’s life

and he like men

since before time saying

“It was not my fault – it was the gods,”

or “fate”

or “the woman”

when all could see it was his greed

and hatred and

lust of power over men

and me.

O sweet Iphigeneia,

they say that my face launched the thousand ships,

but what cost the wind that drove them?

Your sweet stolen breath

sped them on,

and you an innocent and all unknowing

until the knife came down.

In those days, girls did what their fathers bade.

It was not like today,

when every girl thinks

her mind is her own

and she can choose the path she wants.

Yet how could I marry that young thug,

when I had seen my own love in a dream?

And my sweet Paris,

oh, Paris gone,

and none to weep for me

who walked the steps from which I could not stray –

the gods decree, and we are only clay.

I loved him though,

and would have stood before them all,

naked and unarmed,

and claimed for my love that which

my love only could claim:

“This man, please give me this man and no other”…

It was not to be so.

Of course, before my sister

collected her debt from Agamemnon,

the pig had me on skins of wolves –

“For I must taste the cause of ten years’ war,

the lives of twenty thousand of my men.”

And I left his golden tent that night

planted with his child –

though later I pulled it out,

the root trailing his filthy blood.

Look on me now –

I was not always thus.

Once I was young

and beautiful.

I was faithful

to my fate

and brave enough

to kill the issue of a king.

David Hakim is an internationally-published journalist and award-winning author who has run several newspapers – and recently received a commendation for his short story That Man in the London Aesthetica Competition.  He can be reached at dhakim at

© 2013 Hakim - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: use without profit allowed only with author’s express written permission. Please don't wake up my attorney. Please.