Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The Odyssey, Book I, Lines 1-20

SPEAK, MEMORY—
                                        Of the cunning hero,
The wanderer, blown off course time and again
After he plundered Troy's sacred heights.

                                                       nbsp; Speak
Of all the cities he saw, the minds he grasped,
The suffering deep in his heart at sea
As he struggled to survive and bring his men home
But could not save them, hard as he tried—
The fools—destroyed by their own recklessness
When they ate the oxen of Hyperion the Sun,
And that god snuffed out their day of return.

                                   Of these things,

Speak, Immortal One,
And tell the tale once more in our time.

By now, all the others who had fought at Troy—
At least those who had survived the war and the sea—
Were safely back home. Only Odysseus
Still longed to return to his home and his wife.
The nymph Calypso, a powerful goddess—
And beautiful—was clinging to him
In her caverns and yearned to possess him.

Credit


From The Odyssey, by Homer, translated by Stanley Lombardo and published by Hackett Publishing Co., Inc. © 2000 by Stanley Lombardo with permission of Hackett Publishing Co., Inc., Indianapolis, IN and Cambridge, MA. All rights reserved.

Author


Homer

Little is known about the life of Homer, the author credited with composing The Iliad and The Odyssey who is arguably the greatest poet of the ancient world.

Date Published: 2000-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/odyssey-book-i-lines-1-20