“Ceasefire”

Monday, December 12, 2016 - 4:49 pm

“Ceasefire”

I
 Put in mind of his own father and moved to tears
 Achilles took him by the hand and pushed the old king
 Gently away, but Priam curled up at his feet and
 Wept with him until their sadness filled the building.

II
 Taking Hector's corpse into his own hands Achilles
 Made sure it was washed and, for the old king's sake,
 Laid out in uniform, ready for Priam to carry
 Wrapped like a present home to Troy at daybreak.

III
 When they had eaten together, it pleased them both
 To stare at each other's beauty as lovers might,
 Achilles built like a god, Priam good-looking still
 And full of conversation, who earlier had sighed:

IV
 'I get down on my knees and do what must be done
 And kiss Achilles' hand, the killer of my son.'

This poem is excerpted with permission from Collected Poems. For more poetry, visit our Poetry Radio Project.

Share Post

Contributor

Michael Longley

has written more than 20 books of poetry, including Collected Poems, Gorse Fires, and his most recent collection, The Stairwell. He was the professor of poetry for Ireland from 2007 to 2010 and is the winner of the Whitbread Poetry Prize, the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Hawthornden Prize, and the Griffen Prize. In 2015 he was honored with the Freedom of the City of Belfast.

Share Your Reflection

Reflections