Helen After Troy

by Thomas Banks (May 2020)

I am Half Sick of Shadows, John Williams Waterhouse, 1915



The dead of those ten years she carried long,

The orphaned children and the captive wives.

In her thoughts often played a bitter song

Of wasted cities and of buried lives.

The frenzied flight with Paris back to Troy,

The burning temples and the deaths of kings,

The ten years’ war for their brief stolen joy—

The gods on high would not forgive these things.

At times would Menelaus look at her

Much as he did in ages past retrieving.

His words to her were kind, when words there were.

And so would Helen go back to her weaving.




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Thomas Banks has taught literature and Latin for many years in Idaho, Montana, and North Carolina, where he currently lives. Other writings of his have appeared in First Things and the St. Austin Review.

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