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The Wine Red Sea:  Journeys of Odysseus
© Copyright 2014 - 2018 by Peter J Ponzio

Calypso’s Island, Book V

Finally, allowed to leave at last, Odysseus tells the goddess that he will venture forth, untroubled: And if a god will wreck me yet again on the wine-dark sea, I can bear that too, with a spirit tempered to endure. Much have I suffered, labored long and hard by now in the waves and wars. Add this to the total- bring the trial on! (V, 245-248) Odysseus spent the next four days preparing his raft and on the fifth day after the arrival of Hermes, Odysseus set forth on his journey.  He traveled for eighteen days, in sight of the land of the Phaeacians, when Poseidon, newly arrived from his journey to Ethiopia, spied Odysseus on the surface of his realm. Poseidon, lord of the sea, had plans of his own: Just look at him there, nearing Phaeacia's shores where he's fated to escape his noose of pain that's held him until now. Still my hopes ride high- I'll give that man his swamping fill of trouble. (V, 317-320) Leucothea, a sea-goddess, spied Odysseus and took pity on him, and instructed him as follows: Strip off those clothes and leave your craft for the winds to hurl, and swim for it now, you must, strike out with your arms for landfall there, Phaeacian land where destined safety wait. (V, 377-380) Odysseus swam for three days, enduring the wrath of Poseidon, until on the third day, Athena calmed the waters and he made for shore.  Despite the calmed waters, he could find no shore on which to make landfall:  all around him the coast was jagged and rocky, not fit for swimming ashore.  Spying a river, he cried out to the god of that place, saying: Hear me, lord, whoever you are, I've come to you, the answer to all my prayers- rescue me from the sea, the Sea-lord's curse! Even immortal gods will show a man respect, whatever wanderer seeks their help-like me- I throw myself on your mercy, on your current now- I have suffered greatly. Pity me, lord, your suppliant cries for help! (V, 490-497) Finally, Odysseus lands on shore, near the river bank and falls asleep, after burying himself in leaves.