Saltwater Poems: Fall of a City

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Menelaus to Paris

Not a day goes by in the years that have followed,
When song saltier than salt not repeated by swallows—
Barrenness reigns;
And blood, blacker than torrential rain pumps in vain,
What feels the sky upon absence I know not,
Increasingly perhaps accuses of pride and perversity of thought—
Yet, I pen this in hopes of misgivings oust,
Return to shore the lady whom thee tricked, brazenly doused.
Sparta remembers, holy knees have sworn;
Trail of corpses devoid of skin shall meet with thee upon morn.
What hopes had thou, to steal and flee?
Ask what awaits in tumult and turmoil believed right by the sea.


Paris to Menelaus

Forgive me, for lady be lovelier than rose itself;
Our laughing bosoms under the oak were compelled.
I came not under pretense, the sun, the stars and moon are witness;
Her beauty constant, infects— believe it to be incurable, an illness.
Lips fuller than full beguile,
It may be that time in truth jests ‘bout lovers all the while—
That being said, let not winter’s wrath keep thee from battle;
I am a shepherd, I am a fool, I am a prince, waste not breath in prattle.
Trust that early black lends to strengthening resolve,
Thy insults in a jelly I swear to dissolve.
Sayest thou the sea awaits;
Come what may, a thousand ships be diminished before stroke of eight.




Photo credits: “Abduction of Helen,” by Maerten van Heemskerck, Pinterest

Join me, as I host Poetics tonight and invite others to try their hand at writing ‘Verse Epistles.’💝

Posted for Poetics: Exploring the poetic genre “Verse Epistle,” @ dVerse Poets Pub

30 Replies to “Saltwater Poems: Fall of a City”

  1. I love the way those men hide their insults to each other in wonderful language… I can see the anger when they read it… that is how war starts… today I can imagine them writing on twitter instead. 🙂

    1. A Twitter war! It does seem like something they would do. Thank you so much, Bjorn 😀 so glad you liked it 💄❤️

    2. In between these two pissed-off, eloquently dissing dudes there’s a lady, the grief of falling walls … salt against salt here but the water flows under both. And do either understand her?

      1. It’s quite possible that neither of them do. Thank you so much, Brendan 🙂 so glad the poem resonated with you 💄❤️

  2. Classical Verse Epistles, Sanaa, that explore a well-known story from different perspectives. I prefer the tone and language of Menelaus’ letter to Paris, perhaps because it is requesting the return of Helen, while Paris’s tone is arrogant and somewhat mocking, especially in the line ‘I am a shepherd, I am a fool, I am a prince, waste not breath in prattle’.

  3. I really like the dueling letter format about a story well-known. I have a DVD of “Troy” that really brings it to light. You’ve done some fine wordsmithing here. That image is gorgeous.

    1. Awww gosh! Thank you so much, Merril 😀 so glad you enjoyed it 💄❤️

      (I had to watch the movie “Troy” in order to write this) 🙂

  4. Yeah, I had to go back and do a little research, too, Sanaa, but it was well worth it, as it added to my already present great admiration for this fine work. And thanks for the cool prompt! Salute.

  5. Wow, you set the bar way over my head with this incredible pair of epistles. Your tone and form and language are classical and cool. It really reads like an ancient text, like something found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. I am so very impressed with your research and energy.

    1. Awww gosh! Thank you so much, Glenn 😀 so glad you enjoyed it! 💄❤️

      You are always so generous with praise 🙂

  6. Glen said it well … the dualling letters in the flowery language of the era took me right there! Masterful

  7. Such an imaginative and evocative response, Sanaa: a kind of epilogue to the Iliad. Fascinating how you examined the thoughts of these ancient warriors!

  8. Wow, Sanaa, as usual – you have written something that I feel is far beyond me. I don’t think I have either the imagination or the control of language to create epistles as beautifully crafted as yours.


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