Stay away from me, I am about to die,
And do not wish to cling to life like a sailor to a raft,
For I have no Ithaca to go to.
Do not smile like that, do not laugh like music,
For I am dying before your eyes –
I do not want to love you.
I drown in misery yet you force me to rise,
A rapturous leap in the sunset,
But I do not wish to stave off the night –
It is my guest! I welcome it at my door.
Death dines with me and yet I feel no fright,
For no Ithaca is left for me to fight for.
So leave my Calypso, surely you must know
I am sinking ‘neath the world upon the raft of my sorrow
And it grieved not until I saw you.
Go away, strange temptress, let me die ‘neath living’s sea,
Lest spending one more hour with you builds an Ithaca for me.
I imagine that you are aware of Homer’s work the Odyssey. Those who are more recent readers will not know of my previous writing after his Iliad – here and here. Here I use the image of Odysseus clinging to his raft that he might arrive home to Ithaca and his wife Penelope to make quite the opposite point – that for some, drowning might be their preferred choice. I will admit, I am somewhat happier with this poem than some more recent ones – I hope you agree.
The Hapless Neo-Romantic