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Odysseus Hears of the Death of Kalypso

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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)

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This poem originally appeared in the June 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

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Odysseus Hears of the Death of Kalypso

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