Odysseus’s Helmsman

What I could see, my ears waxed against
the maelstrom of their song, were skimpy hags.
I, who had seen fools die to gold a twat’s
beguile, could see nothing there to turn for;
though the mast-bound Captain made urgent
motion to till shoreward, the last I’d heard,
before the silence, was “disregard,” “maintain”
his word past them.

Not an easy thing.
How many times his voice, rising over
tumult, altered our course and brought our salvage
where we are. This we owe to his
direction regardless of plan and policy.
I’ve seen men die for failed plans and policy.
And so, who am I to question alteration?
I knew sword and shield, could gut a man
at the shield wall; but he made illusions
that used these things to take the walls and raze
that city down. Was his furious urge
a new deception to take the ugly shore?

But, though his anguish would break a deaf
man’s solid heart, the last I’d heard,
the last of his my ears held, was “disregard.”
And so, considering the evidence of my eyes,
I held this word and the rudder and tilled water
straight for whatever doom I live now by.

Posted for today’s Rag Tag Community prompt “ Most Desirable” (as in the Siren’s Song), with nods to a few other prompts I missed in the last week.

2 thoughts on “Odysseus’s Helmsman

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