“The Best of the Achaians”
What quality makes a man great?
Strength of arms?
No, not that alone.
Any demi-god has that…
…and look how they turn out!
(Only Mycenae’s founder remained
A good man and true.
The rest died horrible deaths,
And Theseus abducted a child for his new bride!
And he died a horrible death to boot!)
Wisdom beyond measure?
If that was the case,
There would be few great men.
Maybe none at all.
Kindness, and a gentle heart,
Dedication to his friends?
Yes, yes, indeed!
A great man has devotion
And love in his heart,
Ready to lay down his life
To save those he cares for.
In truth, there is but one
Who sailed to Troy
With the strength and heart
To call himself the best.
Though he would never so call himself:
He would award the title
To the one he loves the most,
Friend, comrade, and so much more.
But his kind heart outshines
His selfish, fair-faced friend.
While Achilles sulked,
He shed tears of grief
For the deaths of the Danaan warriors.
His might in battle
Was ne’er so lauded
As that of his fickle friend,
But he killed so many Trojans
In his final stand
That they were maddened for revenge.
His death, too, was greater
Than the humiliation of Achilles.
(An arrow in the ankle? Laughable!)
For the son of the Nereid,
Leto’s son needed but one mortal’s aid,
A tool to unleash the arrow.
But for he who was truly
The best of the Achaians,
The far-darter required the aid of two mortals,
A coward to stab from behind,
And lamentable Hector
To stab from the front.
Dishonorable though the kill was
— what honor could there be
In killing a naked, unarmed man? —
Hector was filled with hubris
To have brought down such a mighty foe.
The son of Menoitios
By his blameless life
Brought honor to his obscure father,
As his name suggests.
By his death he brought down
Hector, and all dreams of Troy’s survival.
In a golden urn
His bones were sheltered
While the son of Thetis cried and groaned
In an anguish more overwrought
Than any widow on the stage,
Though he knew his own bones
Would soon join with his lost comrade’s,
And they would be united in death,
Where is that urn now?
Is it hidden from view in the ground
Or was it stolen away,
In the ancient days of antiquity?
Which “tomb” covered those bones
When Alexander and his lover
Made their offerings at two tomb-shrines,
And ran their naked race on the sands?
Where now is the best of the Achaians?
The White Island is deserted,
The shrines of antiquity lost to time.
Who now wails for the hero that was lost?
Did you think I’d write about anyone else this week? Very naive if you did! (I am a fan-girl, after all!)
I suck at endings, though. *sigh*