lunes, 11 de noviembre de 2013
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
could only walk it.
I was not always an ugly old woman.
I was not always old.
Once I was young –
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 trade that comes with conquest
new markets east and north
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 “the woman”
when all could see it was his greed
and hatred and
lust of power over men
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
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
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 earthlink.net
© 2013 Hakim - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: use without profit allowed only with author’s express written permission. Please don't wake up my attorney. Please.