I wrote this for my Classics 28
class; we had to pick a character from the Orestia
and riff on them. I chose Clytemnestra
returned from Neptune
’s dark depths
, his Ilion
I should have murdered him upon the spot.
I would have attempted, had the girl not
Begun convulsing into prophecy
Outside our household, which I maintained
Ten long years since his hasty departure.
Now he who has slain my lovely child
In the name of my truant sister’s sake
Has returned to me, whom he abandoned
To pursue Helen
still a second time
And place me under a watchful bard’s stare.
Untrusted, sunk, I kept no loyalty
To him or his kingly network of villains
Out seeking glory in the name of care,
All burning in secret for Paris
They pass their harsh judgment easily now,
Proclaim me a vile spider to have woven
Such nets of deceit around my fair king.
I chuckle now, like I did in secret when
He bid me honour him as man, not god.
What can they know of my brutality?
What do they know of being wrestled
From the loving hands of your true husband?
Of two innocents murdered by one hand?
They know nothing of the appalling depths
My bitterness hid with sweet demeanor.
And still they call me evil, betrayer.
Their own reports are right, I wept for joy
When I saw the lights reporting Troy’s sack,
But neither for love nor flag’s allegiance.
Only because my hopeful mind had placed
dead amidst the rubble.