The Trojan War is over and Menelaus has returned with Helen to his home in Sparta. The poem is by J de S Westbrook: see the blog post with an illustration of the reunion as Troy burns by the Brygos painter, who worked in the fifth century BCE, here.
The Queen and I meet almost every day,
As required by ceremonial.
We are Spartan monarchs, disciplined to pay
The daily debts we owe to bronze and steel,
And she is Zeus’s daughter after all.
We met again not long enough ago,
Blood blurred my eyes, rage shook my frame:
How she’s still alive, I’ll never know.
Bronze and prowess polished to a glow
Deceived no-one, could not annul the shame.
When we married, life and love were gold,
Timeless, lived some other golden where:
Now our nights are dulled to iron, cold
As any Spartan heart and sour as rust.
Isn’t Paris dead? Yes, dead, and yet still here.