Odysseus Hears of the Death of Kalypso

By Donald Revell b. 1954 Donald Revell
All their songs are of one hour
Before dawn, when the birds begin.
I sing another.
In helpless midday, at the hour
Even sparrows have no heart to shrill
Comes news . . . Suddenly, the unimaginable
Needs imagination and finds none.

Violet ocean only nothing.
Smoke of thyme and of cedar,
Ornate birds, nothing.
Even a god who came here,
Hearing a sweet voice,   
Would find only old fires now,
Brittle in the blackened trees.   

She was mast and sail. She was
A stillness pregnant with motion,
Adorable to me as, all my life,
I have hidden a cruel, secret ocean
In sinews and in sleep and cowardice.
She forgave me. Once, she wept for me.
Our child died then, and she is with him.

Source: Poetry (June 2008).

 Donald  Revell

Biography

Born in the Bronx, Donald Revell received his PhD at SUNY Buffalo and is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, translations, and essays. Steeped in the work of Henry David Thoreau and William Carlos Williams, Revell’s poetry is “seriously Christian but not doctrinaire, mystical without setting intellect aside, angry over political matters without ever growing stale or shrill, and more often joyful than any other . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Heroes & Patriotism, Relationships, Sorrow & Grieving, Death, Men & Women, Mythology & Folklore, Greek & Roman Mythology

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Allusion, Elegy

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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