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The Trojan King Priam Visits Achilles in the Greek Camp

trojan_s(The Iliad, Book 24)

“Remember your own father,” said the king,
“And send my dead son home with me. Lay bare
The fields you walked through when you were a child.
There is no offering and no asking there,
But only growth and withering reconciled.
I am your other father,” said the king.

“Remember your own father,” said the king,
“Who made a sleeping child, a wind of stone,
A ghost of fathers gone, who kept for you
That spattered masonry. For you alone
The swordblade nudged the belly, pushing through.
He taught you how to murder,” said the king.

“Remember your own father,” said the king.
Achilles clutched the old man’s hair and cried,
Then let him go again, not knowing whether
It was himself or Hector who had died.
The two men sat apart and wept together.
“I am my own son’s murderer,” said the king.

Copyright 2017 Sarah Ruden