The Blinding of Polyphemus



“Kyklops, you ask for my name …..
No-one is my name … as all my friends call me.”

“ … well, I shall eat No-one last of his company.”
Odyssey IX

“No-one blinded me”, said Kyklops ~ an old joke embedded in a folk tale ~ contained for posterity in an epic poem ~  too good a story to be forgotten ~ “so”, they said, “nothing to be done  to no-one” ~ But as he sailed away he was someone ~ again boasting of what he had done ~ overheard by Poseidon ~ not anonymous to the god ~ so the sea roads he sailed ~ remembered him & sought his destruction ~ though other powers kept him whole ~ even a nereid from engulfing ocean ~ he was not bound to that destiny ~ this sea wolf but to some other outcome ~~

His grandfather Autolykos (does it mean ~ werewolf?) sent him out hunting ~ when a boar gored him it made him ~ a man long after that boyhood ~ it was the scar that revealed him ~ returned for his bow and the death ~ of the suitors~~

~~~~~

“… there are two journeys
in every odyssey, one on worried water,

the other crouched and motionless
Derek Walcott Omeros LVIII, ii

Why go? Why stay? ~ if either will bring you to the same destination ~ the same changed state of mind ~ the sense of a journey undertaken ~ and now a return ~~

Only to set out again with an oar ~ to a land far from the sea ~ on a dry road to find ~ one who thought it a wand for winnowing ~ : to appease Poseidon ~~


In his hall he knew he had done this ~ however near or far he wandered ~ the god knew too ~ and that is what mattered.

-*-

It was Tireisias, in the Land of the Dead, who predicted this ending and so it was woven into the story even though the tale ends before such things might happen. It is often a tale that looks backwards and forwards, chopping up the time spent on ‘worried water’, episodes from here & there, the end & the beginning looped together around other endings and preludes, caught by one ‘crouched and motionless’.

1 comment:

  1. It's been ages since I read that tale. Hmmm... becoming no-one a dangerous move to make even if helps you escape from a cyclops...

    ReplyDelete

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