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Odysseus, returned from wandering
of twenty years
, a beggar in his house,
took up his horn bow, bent it to the string,
and slew the suitors who had plagued his spouse.

Penelope, as she disrobed that night,
observing tears along his cheeks, felt she
was cause for them, and wished aloud she might
be still so fair as she had used to be.

"My lady," said the king, "I do not weep
because of you. Most things, and beauty's one,
must change. But yours is woven rich and deep
in time's strong weft, which cannot be undone.

"Still there are gifts that ever should endure,"
he said, the tears returning, "yet today
my arrows flew, as always, swift and sure,
but I could barely draw my bow halfway."

--W W Cooper

© W W Cooper. Posted with the author's permission.

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