Jared Carter

Laodamia To Protesilaus - Poem by Jared Carter

If you were lost, how would I find you,
what path take along dark streets, through
damp vaults, how untangle those choices
far underground, those myriad voices?

'If I were gone, you could no longer follow
through great spillways, or deep hollows.
In that world, my footsteps would fade,
there would be no echo, no light or shade.'

Still, somewhere your presence ahead
would call, through realms of the dead,
through time imploded and turned back,
platform deserted, abandoned track.

'No pause in this long pursuit, this seeking
that has no end. Neither of us speaking,
or able to break the spell - neither chase
nor surrender. Only the lost, familiar face.'

First published in Raintown Review.

Laodamia, wife of Protesilaus, killed herself out of grief after her husband died in the Trojan War. The image below is from an 1878 painting by Irish artist George William Joy (1854-1925) .

Topic(s) of this poem: grief , loneliness, mythology

Form: Quatrain

Comments about Laodamia To Protesilaus by Jared Carter

  • Daniel Brick (4/12/2017 9:41:00 PM)

    This is a marvel of a poem. The language is so strong as befits a myth of stoic courage, you admit a deeply felt
    loss and it suffuses the poem with its echoing pain. This is the very thing stoicism denies us, but in your poem
    philosophy and pathos are harmonized in a perfect balance. And that makes for a most satisfying contemporary version of the ancient myth. You are probably familiar with Wordsworth's poem: he wrestled with his ending but did not find that balance of contraries you give voice to. There is both finality and hope in your poem because you don't impose a premature closure. I'm reminded of the courageous words Ann Druian spoke after the death of her husband, Carl Sagan. They accepted the fact it was a forever farewell,
    but the memories, the memories! Wordsworth describes a tree at Protecilaus' grave as A CONSTANT INTERCHANGE OF GROWTH AND BLIGHT. There is always something spiritually alive when human emotions are sincere. Your poem means a great deal to me. I'm putting a copy of it in my Wordsworth volume.
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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Poem Edited: Monday, May 1, 2017

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