Sunday, July 24, 2011

13 Years

(My sweet husband - you get Homer this year.)

One of my favorite books is Homer's The Odyssey. The scene I adore most comes at the end - when Odysseus arrives home to a house full of immoral, evil men trying to take his clever wife Penelope. He comes back disguised as an old man in rags.

Then comes the bow.

Penelope decides whoever can string Odysseus' powerful bow will win her hand. Odysseus' young son tries, several of the suitors try - none of them can do it.

Finally Odysseus stands up and lifts the bow.

But the man skilled in all ways of contending,
satisfied by the great bow's look and heft,
like a musician, like a harper, when
with quiet hand upon his instrument
he draws between his thumb and forefinger
a sweet new string upon a peg: so effortlessly
Odysseus in one motion strung the bow.
Then slid his right hand down the cord and plucked it,
so the taut gut vibrating hummed and sang a swallow's note.

In the hushed hall it smote the suitors
and all their faces changed. Then Zeus thundered
overhead, one loud crack for a sign.
And Odysseus...He picked one ready arrow from his table
where it lay bare: the rest were waiting still
in the quiver for the young men's turn to come.
He nocked it, let it rest across the handgrip,
and drew the string and grooved butt of the arrow,
aiming from where he sat upon the stool.

Now flashed arrow from twanging bow clean as a whistle
through every socket ring, and grazed not one,
to thud with heavy brazen head beyond.

(The Odyssey, Book XXI, Robert Fitzgerald translation)

In the early months of dating Greg, on the outdoor deck of his parents cabin, I found myself admiring a rather large, green hunting bow. It was massive and heavy. I tried several times - with sincere effort - to pull back the string.


Then Greg stepped up.

Taking the bow easily into his arms, he grabbed the string with two fingers, angled it down and then straight forward as he easily brought the cord back to hold tight.

And then the sun broke through the clouds over us.

I was breathless, I was flustered and blushing.

I had found my Odysseus.


Esther Yu Sumner said...


What a beautiful, romantic tribute. Love it.

leadatortilla said...

That is a very fabulous post - I'm glad you found him!

Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary Rachael! Like Odysseus, I got the hot chick (who was a little indecisive) after having to beat out many other men (many of which I wish I could have shot with a bow). I’m sure everybody would agree that I got the better end of the deal.

I love you!


kj said...

Very sweet. And Happy (late) Anniversary!