Calypso’s Fate

Poetry by Ryan Burczak

Calypso’s Fate

 

“That was the fourth day and all his work was done.
On the fifth, the lovely goddess launched him from her island,
once she had bathed and decked him out in fragrant clothes.
And Calypso stowed two skins aboard – dark wine in one,
the larger one held water – added a sack of rations,
filled with her choicest meats to build his strength,
and summoned a wind to bear him onward, fair and warm.”

Calypso, the nymph with lovely braids,
watched as the King of Ithaca sailed away,
and then, with tears in her eyes,
returned to her cavern home on the dark, wooded island.
Lying on her bed, she wept for Odysseus,
the man she saved from Zeus’ lethal bolt.
She wept for the godlike husband she would never have.
And she wept for the children, beautiful and strong,
that she would never have. She cried out,
“Is this the wrath of Zeus? Could this be my fate?”

High on Mount Olympus, Zeus heard his name,
the breathtaking voice of Atlas’ daughter
now replaced by desperate cries of agony.
The almighty Zeus summoned his daughter Athena
and said, “Go down to Ogygia and tell Calypso that
it was not King Odysseus’ destiny to stay with her forever,
and it is not the will of the gods that she remain alone.”

Athena strapped on her golden winged sandals
and descended Mount Olympus,
heading for the dark, wooded island of Ogygia.
She crossed the deep-blue sea and approached
the remote island of the lustrous goddess Calypso.
She found the daughter of Atlas in her deep vaulted cavern,
laying on her bed, eyes overflowing with tears of loneliness.
Calypso greeted the daughter of Zeus,
and welcomed the gray-eyed goddess hospitably
with a plate of ambrosia and nectar.

After the refreshing meal, Athena said to Calypso,
“Your grief was heard on Mount Olympus, and
the almighty Zeus sent me here to give you comfort.
The gods have watched you care for
King Odysseus for seven long years.
Although you lived as husband and wife,
it was not his fate to live with you forever.
I will summon Aphrodite, goddess of love,
to explain to you your future. To earn her favor,
you must prepare a gift equal to her beauty.
Weave her a beautiful, glistening robe, and
when it is finished, Aphrodite will come to you.”

For four days and four nights, Calypso worked at her loom,
weaving a flowing and regal robe for Aphrodite.
When it was completed, a deep sleep fell upon the nymph.
“When Dawn with her rose red fingers shone once more,”
Calypso awoke to the sight of the goddess of love.

“Thank you, daughter of Atlas, for the lovely robe.
I see that you labored very hard to prepare for my visit.”
Aphrodite said. “I will not keep you in anticipation any longer.
I have the power to put passion in men’s hearts and
give women the gift of fertility. But you, lovely nymph,
do not need my powers. Your life partner was chosen
by the gods on Mount Olympus, and he will come to you soon.
He is of strong build, excelling at many athletic games in his kingdom.
He comes from an island of seafaring men,
but he is not destined for his current life’s path.
Your future husband was chosen by Poseidon.
His mother is a descendent of the great sea god.
Poseidon will bestow immortality on a son of Arete, Queen of Scheria.
Prince Laodamas is not destined to become King of the Phaeacians.
He will spend eternity here, in love with you,
and a quiet, blissful life by the sea.
And you will have many children, beautiful and strong.”
With those words, Aphrodite disappeared into the sea.

“When Dawn with her rose red fingers shone once more”,
the nymph with lovely braids awoke content,
and grateful to the gods who had looked after her.
And then she saw a mighty black ship
on the dark blue waters, sailing toward her island.
And she knew that her destiny had arrived.

About Ryan Burczak 214 Articles

Ryan Burczak is a sophomore at Clayton A.Bouton High School.