One: Rage – Goddess!

 Homer’s Iliad (9th-8th Century BCE)


Achilles’ banefull wrath resound, O Goddesse, that
Infinite sorrows on the Greekes, and many brave
souls losd
From breasts Heroique—sent them farre, to that
invisible cave
That no light comforts; and their lims to dogs and
Vultures gave.
To all which Jove’s will gave effect; from whom
first strife begunne
Betwixt Atrides, king of men, and Thetis’ godlike


So, why did I begin this poem-a-day project with what is essentially just a very small piece of a very large poem? Because, I’m attempting to cover 2,000 years in some kind of chronology, and because I’m choosing short poems in general every day. This is just a daily mind/mentality exercise, meant to act as something both meditative and creativity-inspiring.

What’s going on in this poem? Well, in this part of it, we have what is essentially an outline (a thesis! – the English professor’s brain never lets up) for the epic to follow. It seems somehow fitting that this poem is one of the first, best examples of its kind in literary history, that it begins this particular project, and that it ultimately alludes to death and the afterlife.

As inspiration, I find these lines ironically soothing (ironic considering the portends, and that most translations for this call attention to one primary word: RAGE). Having read Song of Achilles recently, this stanza also resonates with me because of that story’s influence. Thinking of the love between Achilles and Patroclus, and how well it was written — that idea of RAGE becomes even more profound. Did Homer (or whomever) mean to imply, eventually, the reason for Achilles’ rage as influenced by that particular relationship? Doubtful. In most of the classical stories, his, and other heroes’, rage is simply an awe-inspiring representation of virility and masculinity.

Still, I think our readings are always influenced by where we are in life, what we’ve been doing in life, other things we’ve been thinking about, other books we’ve been reading, etc. So, for this moment, I’m satisfied with my reaction to this stanza. It somehow connects me to my current emotional state: a determined passion, or a passionate determination.

What do you think?

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