Odysseus' Farewell to Nausicaa
Wretched and aching, I stood in the morning
mist, my naked
body soaked ugly and foul by the foam of the pitiless
Thus, unexpectedly, for the first time, I saw you. Your
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
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
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
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)
from the Hungarian
and edited by Thomas Land
The illustration is Odysseus and Nausicaa (1619)
If you have any comments on this poem, Thomas Land
would be pleased to hear from you.