A Landfall Ulysses Might Have Made
Each rower pressed then gently on his oar.
The watchful helmsman turned the boat about
And rode the swelling water to the shore.
While all his ill-used crew were deep in doubt,
Ulysses stood; a great amphora ‘neath his hand
That held the best that toiling Ithicans had made.
He’d offer to Poseidon a libation poured on sand
In hope that fractious God just might be swayed
By offerings heroic in their pointless scale
Though taxed from peasants poor and frail.
Poseidon paused from stirring seas and shaking earth
To note this mortal’s effort to appease at other’s cost
Then shook that sandy shore in roaring mirth,
At hubris of a petty tyrant and the wine so lost.
Poseidon still may thunder, slap his sides and laugh
As other tyrants pour much wealth on sand
Libating Furies of the ballot box—not wine nor calf,
But subsidies and circuses upon demand.
Each offering heroic in its pointless scale
And taxed from people poor and frail.