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Poetry Month: "Iphtimê: The Consolation of Penélopê"

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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Now it occurred to the grey-eyed goddess Athena / to make a figure of dream
in a woman’s form — / Iphthimê . . .
The goddess sent this dream to Odysseus’ house / to quiet Penélopê and end
her grieving.
Book IV

"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.


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