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... Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods


Though teenagers adore Odysseus,

action hero, here's what they don't get:

Penelope as a romantic lead.

She makes them squirm.  They want a Juliet

(not someone's mother)—and for Telémakhos.

The royal pair mingled in love, they read,

disgusted:  Over forty, love is gross.

But in his own way, Beowulf is worse.

Fifty winters a king, and at his gold

jubilee he slays the Geatish curse?

A dragon?  He's, like, seventy; he's old!

Unseemly!  Some day soon they'll get the verse

about old age—to strive, to seek, to find

what some day they will need:  an open mind.


Deborah Warren



(c) 1999; originally printed in The Formalist.
Reprinted by permission of the author.

Background by Shawna

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