Scoundrel Time


Almost at the end of his long journey,
but not quite near the end of his troubles,
Ulysses, inveterate veteran
of the endless war to wipe a culture
off the map–maybe not for the first time–
landed alone, abandoned by his men’s
inability to control their own
appetites, washed up naked on the shore

of the Phaeacians, a people so blest
they didn’t even realize their life
was especially touched by good fortune:
no seasons, so fruit, ever ripening,
could always be eaten fresh off the tree,
and wars were only the subject of song.

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