As black shapes lengthen cold over the sand
And stone, quivering with the falling sun,
Telemachus broods close to the dark surf.
Watching the waves rattle towards his small feet
while walking west from his now distant home,
endless crests of baffling feelings break
sharp across his mind, causing his conscience
to whorl dark into trembling chaos.
No longer able to bear the distress,
Young Telemachus falls to the sand,
wailing, while the shadows lap his knees:
There are stones in my body!
Small harsh stones of anxiety pushing through my veins, rough stones of shame squeezing through my arteries with every pulse and corrosive stones of grief eating at my organs. There are tides of stone hopelessness churning within my soul! By a dismal mother, forever absent father and pestilent suitors these sufferings have been produced, these tortures which plague me so. I know not what to do! I search not for a cure, but rather for guidance and direction to where I may find answers, solutions. I cannot withstand the surging pain that these stones are causing any longer…
With these words, while falling to his hands,
Telemachus’ eyes suddenly leap
catching sight of a distant ember flit.
Standing, he is guided towards the hue,
by strong yet inexplicable forces.
The closer he gets the brighter they glow,
now burning deep purple, like rusting blood,
like a sea with evening close encroaching.
Finally reaching the burning shade,
it erupts, spraying the beach with light,
with myriad maroons, magenta tints,
morphing, growing , forming into being.
Telemachus, dazzled by the godly
splendor before him knows that this is
a visit from the renowned Hephaestus.
Elated at a chance to reap guidance,
Telemachus waits, gleeful, for the god,
now sputtering with hot radiant sparks,
sending frolicking flames along the beach
and stunning ephemeral specks up
into already stippled evening sky.
Finally, for Hephaestus’ finish,
a line of blinding iridescence he
shoots, out to sea, stretching infinitely,
arching over the dim horizon,
pointing towards the distant island of
Ogygia, a foreign land of nymphs.
After projecting so long and far,
Hephaestus’ light recedes and the
beach sinks once again into the dusk.
Baffled, Telemachus stares at the sea,
Burning with wild curiosity,
wondering how to interpret this sign.
Without a clue, exasperated, he
decides to let it go, forget what he
just saw. More grief-stricken than he was
he turns his smooth back out towards the waves,
towards where the burning streak had just pointed…
Quivering, rattling, he makes his way through the cold black of night, carrying a smoldering soul back to his plagued home.
Alexander Charnov, Age 16, Grade 11, Saint Ann’s School, Gold Key