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The Cyclops' Reefs emerge from the sea

at the harbor entrance. These are supposed to be

the rocks hurled by the Cyclops Polyphemus.

– Michelin Guide (Sicily)


So these are the mountain chunks the Cyclops shied

to bring Ulysses back.  Ulysses cried

the truth across the sucking waves:  his name—

"Raider of Cities!  That's who you can claim

you had to deal with—not the Nobody

you cursed to your grotesque and wheel-eyed friends."

And eyeless Polyphemus, taking aim

with lava crags and hills, let fly at him

and missed; and since the monoliths went wide,

flying as untrue as they were immense,

they failed to dim the voice that could deride

not only Polyphemus—also me:

He's only fiction, like his pseudonym.

The canny familiar I've been travelling with,

always just a stone's throw from my side—

he's like these "missiles"—nothing but a myth.

Ulysses!  We could say that Homer lied;

but if you never lived, you never died.

Like lava-hardened into history—

you'll outlive me; and who is nobody?


Aci Trezza, Sicily


Deborah Warren



(c) 2000; originally printed in the Cumberland Poetry
  Reprinted by permission of the author.


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