THE GREEK BOOK by Ireland Wisdom (art) & Pablo Capra (poetry)

When Paris went to Greece he fell in love
With Helen whose beauty was greater than
Any other woman’s on the planet,
And so he took her back with him to Troy.
Helen had long blond hair down to her toes,
Her dresses were the same length as her hair,
And the depths of her eyes made Paris day-dream...
Unfortunately, she was also married.
They sailed away secretly in the night.
At dawn, it still seemed like a good idea,
And Helen said, “I want to see the world!”
But, as the sun rose red over the sea,
They worried about what would happen next.

The Greeks were outraged when they heard the news.
King Agamemnon asked Odysseus
To lead an army and bring Helen back.
Odysseus wanted to live in peace
With his young wife Penelope and son,
But couldn’t argue with the stubborn king.
And Cupid in his cloud was sad to see
The consequences of the love he’d caused.

Across the sea to Troy, Odysseus
And his men traveled long, ready for war.
There wasn’t much to do but stand around,
And many asked, “When are we going to get there?”
“How should I know?” Odysseus replied.
“Relax and drink some wine. Give me a break!”
Then his men said, “We don’t have any wine.”
“Whatever. Just be quiet!” he told them.

After their sea voyage the Greeks were stunned
To see the humongous city of Troy
With soldiers standing on its sky-high wall.
“Everyone said that this would be a cake walk.
No one mentioned a wall!” the Greeks complained.
Thinking about this problem for awhile,
Odysseus announced, “I have a plan.”

To win the war they built a wooden horse
And hid inside, pretending they had fled.
The flower painted on the outside fooled
The Trojans, who thought that the horse meant peace.
Although the wise ones shouted, “Barbecue it!”
The horse was rolled into their happy city.
That night the Greeks jumped out and burned down Troy.
Helen was saved and returned to her husband,
But Paris sleeps forever in the ashes.

On the way home, the Greeks stopped at an island
Where they were kidnapped by an evil Cyclops –
A giant with one eye named Polyphemus –
Who lay in bed and ate them one by one,
Singing, “Yummy crunchy for my tummy!
Yummy crunchy munchy for my tummy!”
The Greeks thought that their end had come, until
Odysseus found a sharp wooden pole
And poked out the big eyeball of the Cyclops.
With Polyphemus blind, the Greeks escaped.

They stopped again at the island of Circe,
A witch both beautiful and dangerous
Who wore green genie shoes the day they showed up.
She loved Odysseus but changed his men
Into wild pigs using a purple potion.
Odysseus made Circe change them back.
Then they were friends. She said, “I want to keep you!”
“I’m sorry,” he said, “I'm going to Greece.”

(But Circe wasn’t lonely when they left
Because she found a friend who liked to say,
“Can we make potion please?” and thought that it
Was funny to turn people into pigs.)

They sailed as far as Hades just to ask
Directions from the dead how to get home,
Paying the price of a fresh pool of sheep’s blood.
A ghost who had known them before he died
Told Odysseus which way to go.
The Greeks were grateful, and they thanked the ghost,
Then left him to lap up the lukewarm liquid.

Penelope had waited all this time,
Weaving a rug while servants brought her thread,
So sad that she forgot about the world.
But on the day Odysseus returned,
She smiled at the singing of the birds.

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