On the shores of Ithaca she waits. In full youth, her body taut with desire, she waits. She waits for her husband who has left behind her sweet whisperings and gone seeking great adventure on high seas – where ‘the deep moans round in many voices’. He has left her on the tame island and gone to fight great battles ‘far on the ringing plains of windy Troy’. Months turn, seasons turn, years turn. Youth begins to leave the body, age begins to take hold. Desire for his warmth turns slowly to only a desire for his presence. She wants to share with him what remains of her life. She waits.
A long time ago in some obscure place I read a short poem by an unknown poet. Or rather, poetess. I do not remember her name; I only remember that the poem left an impression on me. I have never been able to locate it again. The poem was called “Penelope”. The poetess is speaking to her. Its concluding lines, as best as I can recall, went something like this:Do you sometimes wonder
If he does ever return again
Will there be time enough
For anything else but death?