H.D.: Eideolon, Book 3, Section 7

16 November 2018

Was Helen stronger than Achilles even "as the arrows fell"? That could not be, but he recognised in her some power other than her legendary beauty.

He could name Helena,
but the other he could not name;
she was a lure, a light,

an intimate flame, a secret kept
even from his slaves, the elect,
the innermost hierarchy;

only Helena could be named
and she was a public scandal
in any case, a cause of shame

to Agamemnon and Menelaus;
it was not that she was beautiful,
true, she stood on the Walls,

taut and indifferent
as the arrows fell;
it was not that she was beautiful,

there were others,
in spite of the legend,
as gracious, as tall;

it was not that she was beautiful,
but he stared and stared
across the charred wood

and the smouldering flame,
till his eyes cleared
and the smoke drifted away.

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