Halfway House

Measuring steps on my four-mile daily walk,
this house, halfway from and to home,
reminds me today of my childhood home,
or one for the homeless, pilgrims, soldiers,
all trying to find their way back. 


Home at Sunset

Today, it feels like Odysseus’ last voyage
as I head home from the darkening woods.
Though I’ve only been gone a day,
I feel disguised like a wandering beggar
wondering how my wife will greet me.


Odysseus and the Sirens

Odysseus and the Sirens, 2nd century AD (Bardo National Museum, Tunisia)

The Telegony is a lost ancient Greek epic poem about Telegonus, son of Odysseus by Circe. His name (“born far away”) is indicative of his birth on Aeaea, far from Odysseus’ home of Ithaca. We assume that it tells the story of Odysseus’ last voyage, and of his death at the hands of Telegonus. The poem, like the others of the cycle, is “lost” in that no authentic version has been discovered.

I had been reading this past week Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses” written in 1842. This is an aging king who has seen too much of the world to be happy sitting home or on a throne. He leaves the responsibilities to his son and gathers up some old comrades “to sail beyond the sunset”.

On my actual walk home from the woods at sunset, the song “Home at Last” by Steely Dan showed up in my ears from the playlist on my phone. To me, it’s a song about Odysseus/Ulysses.

Well, the danger on the rocks is surely past.
Still, I remain tied to the mast.
Could it be that I have found my home at last?

A poster print of Tennyson’s poem