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Andromache by Franz Andres Morrissey


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How brilliantly the warrior smiled in silence

his eyes rested upon the child! Andromache

rested against him, shook away a tear  (Homer: Illiad)


A brief embrace before

he returns to battle,

my breast against his breastplate,

his arms around me and

our small son.


The pictures appear out of nowhere:

a body tied to a chariot, dragged through the dust,

a small boy flung from the highest rampart of the city wall,

a mighty warrior at an altar bludgeoning an old man to death,

women herded together, reviewed, parcelled out to triumphant warlords,

a rocky sea shore I do not know.


I blink back the images

and watch the tear

fall on his gauntlet.

He puts down the child,

picks up his helmet

and is gone.


Franz Andres Morrissey 2003

Thanks to Franz Andres Morrissey for permission to reprint his poem.