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Anticlus

 

I died in a trick, tricked myself. A soldier, slain

at my general’s hands, answering a command

as false as the gift in our plan, whose unborn

foal first killed an ordinary man like me.

Deceived by a queen, choked by a king, inside

a holy offering that won a war, burned a city,

destroyed another king and many ordinary men.

Sacrificed in a sacrifice so as not to sacrifice

the element of surprise, the last thing I heard

was the voice of the most beautiful woman

in the world, calling to me, calling to me.

An iron grip – Cyclops-blinding, bow-strong –

shut my reply forever in that belly of shame

while love, unanswered, still echoed my name.

 

Helen, suspecting a trick, circled the Trojan Horse,

mimicking the wives of the Greeks inside. Anticlus,

fooled, tried to answer, but was prevented from doing so

by Odysseus who, in some versions, suffocated him to death.