Chapter 2

The Debate


Freedom shelters endless blue sky.
Freedom born of sorrow,
Shepherds us to unbound bliss.

Odysseus, seeking ecstatic oblivion,
Cries, unable to sustain its heights.
Is prolonged pleasure painful for humans?
Is godly love cruel?

Why does he choose death?
It is incomprehensible.
Yet, he prides himself on rationality.

Hovering over the hill above my greening grotto,
The bright light of the world surrounding me,
Under the beloved blue of the limitless skies,
For me, this abundance was once enough.

I imagine the world without this sorry man.
And I – a goddess— mourn his loss.
There can never be another such.

Surely, his wife would wish him immortality.
Surely, she would wish him this blessing I can bestow and she cannot.
Surely, he is wantonly mistaken when he heartlessly utters no!

How can death be better than life?
It is a mystery I shall never enter.
I believed I had reached the limits of sorrow,
But perhaps there is no margin - like eternity.

If sorrow cannot be circumscribed,
Can I accommodate it?
And if I cannot will I disappear?

I would feed him the ambrosia without his knowledge,
But it would be wrong. The willful man must consent.
Why does he choose to die?
How can I bear the pain of unrequited desire, forever?

Where is perfect sorrow?
Speak! Return me to that hopeless state,
Free from expectation.
Love is too full of wayward imagination.


Honor, Courage, Bravery, Valor, Glory in Battle!
It is for these Odysseus needs the ability to die.
That idiot man insists that if a warrior's life is not forfeit,
Heroism is a sham; the only true heroes, he importunes,
Are the shadowy champions of Elysium.

And what --asked I -- of Prometheus?
That bold Titan who, for millennia, endured agony,
While bound to a mountain top,
His liver ripped from him daily,
Just so human beings could stay warm
While cooking their disgusting food,
And polluting the night with firelight.

"Seems a good reason for mortality,"
Returned that mortal ingrate I adore,
"He would have needed only one surgery
To join the mighty heroes in the Elysian Fields."

Smiling, I knew I had the wily, flippant King,
Was he not braver? –I countered –
Believing he would pay for eternity.
Knowing there would be no respite, just eternal suffering?
He acted heroically; knowing he would receive no reward,
So unlike your mortal, so-called heroes and their booty wars.

He had no answer for the Titan's unbound generosity,
But advanced on me in a fit of raging anger,
Then wordless, he turned, departing in a fury.
Why did I challenge him thus?
Taking from him his last shred of superiority,
I do not know, but I do know this will end badly.

Tonight I will entice him to my chamber,
And in the sweet darkness give him back his dominance.
But I fear it is not primacy in bedroom tactics that he seeks.
His pride lies in his cleverness; Athena is his true reflection.
I have doomed myself to loneliness and sorrow by winning this debate,
But perhaps there is an alternative solution.
If I cannot have Odysseus; I shall have the next best thing.