Odysseus' Farewell to Nausicaa

odysseus and nausicaa
    Wretched and aching, I stood in the morning mist, my naked
body soaked ugly and foul by the foam of the pitiless breakers.
Thus, unexpectedly, for the first time, I saw you. Your cautious
sisters backed away shaken in terror and scattered screaming.
All of them fled. You alone remained with me on the seashore.
    There you raised your eyes at me as though you’d been waiting,
there your all-comprehending gaze touched the roots of my being.
Gently you gazed at me and the current of your visceral
goodness engulfed me. You understood, without a single
word from our lips, you understood the needs of the shipwrecked.
    Now I shall never forget, no matter the length of the journey
beckoning across the wistful haze of the waters.
Faster than treacherous winds, my restless new vessel is gliding
forward, away, and again perhaps I may never see you.
But I shall treasure that gaze. Oh, generous lady of distance!

Zoltán Vitó (1940-2011)

Translated from the Hungarian
and edited by Thomas Land

The illustration is  Odysseus and Nausicaa (1619) by Rubens.

If you have any comments on this poem, Thomas Land   would be pleased to hear from you.