In a effort to continue with learning about lyric poetry, the students wrote elegies for characters in The Odyssey.
Your Task: Write an elegy to one of the characters from Homer’s The Odyssey. Remember that an elegy, like an ode, has no set stanza structure or rhyme scheme, but elegies ARE usually meant to be set to music. That means that there must be some kind of rhythm to the poem.
You may choose your structure (quatrains, cinquains, etc…) and you may choose to have a rhyme scheme. Things to keep in mind about elegies:
- Although they have no set structure, elegies do contain three sections that address the three stages of grief:
The Praise (ode-ish)
- The elegy most often does not give the person’s name in the poem… it is usually found in the title.
- The poem most often characterizes the person being elegized.
- You must have either: a) a number of stanzas divisible by three for each of the stages of loss (see “Oh Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman), or b) three separate sections, each for the stages of loss (see “Elegy to W. B. Yeats” by W.H. Auden)
“Elegy to Argos” by Phoebe H.
I’m sorry, my dear companion!
For years you had no care.
Left in alone in manure with fleas in your hair,
Unfed, undeserving, tired and old
Unlike the companion I left long ago.
But now, companion, you’ve died of grief
Did you know? I’m sorry I could not greet you.
Just as my eyes met yours,
A final, last look,
And you’ve closed your eyes.
A final, last look,
I’ve said my goodbyes.
I remember, my dear ally!
You loved to run around.
Battle scars, memories, ever since you were young.
The best tracker, so quick and strong!
You followed me and never went wrong.
As others praised me, I would praise you.
Faithful, old friend, you knew me at once!
Forever my loyal ally,
You’d follow me,
To the ends of the earth.
You’d follow me,
Till your spirit fled earth.
Move on, my dear comrade!
The troubles are no more.
The careless maids and the haughty suitors,
Their lives were reaped, and set to roam.
Peace has now returned to our home.
You would have fought by my side.
We still will share the victory.
Let your spirit run free!
Rest in the afterlife,
You’ll be remembered.
Rest in the afterlife,
At peace, forever.
“Elegy to Agamemnon” by Jaime L.
A marriage should be filled with love, happiness, and compassion
And trust, above all, of any fashion
But instead, his was not meant to be
As the tale is here for all to see
A great victory beheld our lives in times of great sorrow
The men all eager to return home by tomorrow
But out great leader returns to doom
For his unfaithful wife has been wooed
Our great leader is dead, struck down by the lover of his unfaithful wife
No breath stirs his chest, his soul fleeing to the afterlife
A great warrior was he!
Fighting to the end, seeing the oncoming victory!
Aiding King Menelaus, his loving brother
He fought to end the war brought upon by the beautiful Helen’s lover
How strong was he, the great king of Argos!
But bear in mind
His great soul is fine
As it travels to Elysium
That great hero had done great deeds in life
A pity, for what happened with his wife
Though he will soon settle in an Eden
He was brave, cunning, and smart
And will live forever in our beating hearts
All right from the start.
“Elegy to Elpenor” by Trevor C.
For your death Princely Odysseus best accept the blame
As he unleashed Poseidon’s wrath that upon the crew trouble would rain
We know that you took the fall for Odysseus being big-headed
When we heard that the crew was to die, the journey home became dreaded
I will always mourn your powerful presence
But I hope the underworld will be for you, a great residence
You can be assured that you didn’t deserve this wicked plummet
Knowing that this could have been avoided makes me sick to my stomach
You were a loyal one to the crew as could be seen in your brotherly gaze
How were you to know your fate after being awoken and all a-dazed
The crew didn’t know what they had until they lost you, a major part of the crew’s puzzle
Why they tried to leave Circe’s island without you makes me befuddled
You were always a companion, a truly loyal fellow
But you had to fall to a death that was anything but mellow
We hope you rest easy, after all you have been selfless
But the death was partly your fault, no one is totally flawless
After your death, carrying on will be very hard to manage
We can try to push past all our emotional damage
Your crew will never be the same again, on them your personality was impressed
On the subject of your death the crew may also have to digress
Your family will eventually heal after being in total despair
Don’t feel grief about dying young, I know it may be unfair
Your body was treated and buried with great pride
As for the sea-god Poseidon, we all now greatly despise.
“Elegy to Anticlea” by Ryan H.
O Anticlea, beloved mother of mine
My heart swelled, dropped deep in decline
As I witnessed your being, unwhole
Dwelling in the land of dead souls
O what a terrible, unpleasant surprise
For still inside, my forsaken heart cries
For you, I attempt so desperately to embrace
Yet, to no avail, I am without solace
Learning of your honorable demise, my morale upped
No matter that your demise was so abrupt
The fact that you perished of grief for me
Only heightens your unmitigated legacy
You were a providing, nurturing, and loving mother
In these traits you showed, you would never falter
You lived your life with honor and respect
Now that you’re gone, I must reflect
O father of mine, great Laertes
Hear me now, O hear me please
Do not grieve for too long
To do so would be so wrong
As our departed member would persist against it
Of that her humble soul would not permit
She would want us to be our boldest
And live our lives to their fullest
“Elegy to Achilles” by Alessandra P.
Our hearts are heavy
For we lost a great hero
All Achaeans mourn for you
You left us miserable and abandoned
The sky is now gray
The days are now dark
Now that you are gone we lost all hope
You led us through the battle of troy
You brought us victory and hope
You were brave and determined
You were a loyal friend
A fearless man and a strong leader
You were the greatest Greek warrior
and lived an honorable life
We know that you legacy will live on
What you did while alive will overcome your death
For not even death can conquer the hero that will live on forever
For you have given us the best of you
We are honored to have experienced what you had to offer
The hero that lived in you will spark the hero in all of us from generation to generation
It is time to lay down your sword and rest in peace