Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sonnet 155 (The Ajax Sonnet)

I am Odysseus in the halls of hell
And all you ghosts but one will chat with me:
You, Ajax, whom I loved. You know too well
What I am, how my half-lidded eyes see.
I stole the armor that was rightly yours.
You killed yourself in protest on your sword.
And now you turn your back on me –- out roars
Your silence –- eloquent, piercing, but Lord!
What is a suit of armor to a hero?
He needs no armor but his honor’s soul.
Armor is cheap; self-made, its cost is zero
And self-made armor’s best when it’s made whole.
Sulk not, sweet Ajax, with your white plume gone.
Worse men than you have died with armor on.

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