Places: Penelope’s Tree Bed

“There is our pact and pledge, our secret sign,
built into that bed – my handiwork
and no one else’s!
An old trunk of olive
grew like a pillar on the building plot,
and I laid out our bedroom round that tree,
lined up stone walls, built the walls and roof,
gave it a doorway and smooth-fitting doors.
Then I lopped off the silvery leaves and branches,
hewed and shaped that stump from the roots up
into a bedpost, drilled it, let it serve
as a model for the rest.  I planed them all,
inlaid them all with silver, gold and ivory,
and stretched a bed between – a pliant web
of oxhide thongs died crimson.
There’s our sign!
I know no more.  Could someone else’s hand
have sawn that trunk and dragged the frame away?

———————————————————————————————————————

This post is a Place Description quoted from Homer’s The Oddysey.  I intend no slight to the author in using this excerpt, in fact I recommend that you visit your nearest library or bookstore and get your hands on the real thing.

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