April is National Poetry Month, and to mark the occasion we'll be sharing some of our favourite poems from collections we've published over the years. Today's poem is "Iphtimê: The Consolation of Penélopê" by Brent MacLaine from the collection Athena Becomes a Swallow and Other Voices from The Odyssey.
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in a woman’s form — / Iphthimê . . .
The goddess sent this dream to Odysseus’ house / to quiet Penélopê and end
"Iphtimê: The Consolation of Penélopê"
by Brent MacLaine
Penélopê — forgive me, sister — I sidled
by the bolted door and, through the latch,
entered on a draught — a rare ambrosial breeze
from Zeus himself. Athena sent me.
Think of me as a wisp of sweetened smoke.
I am a welcome sigh — the breath of ease.
Leaves move aside for me. The clover nods,
and I coax the warm waves of summer
to the sandy shore. My stroking pleases
the weary ploughman at the end of day.
I smooth the furrows of a wrinkled brow.
I am a soothing sigh — the breath of ease.
I am the soft words a loving mother
needs to hear — Telémakhos is well.
He will return to you. Athena sees
to everything. And now, I leave as deftly
as I came — not a door-creak will you hear.
I am a thankful sigh — the breath of ease.
Grab your own copy of Athena Becomes a Swallow and Other Voices from The Odyssey by blank here, or check out the rest of our poetry collection here.