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Poem review: Ulysses

Ulysses & COVID

Much like the seemingly endless anguish of lockdown, the King Ulysses reflects on the apparent meaninglessness of his life, trapped on the rocky island of Ithaca. He meditates on his past quests; adventures shared with both friend and foe that have shaped him into the man he is today.  These are the experiences which fill life with joy and excitement, and which we all continue to be robbed of, trapped within the four walls of our homes. 

Old or young, like Ulysses, all of us yearn to travel once more and step into the unknown, to do the things that, in our eyes, make life worth living. Like his rusty sword that has long been deprived of the glory and excitement of battle, lockdown has an unnerving way of making humans feel like ancient relics of a time long gone, never to be seen again. Whilst we live, we are not alive, trapped in an apparently endless purgatory, shielding us from danger and excitement in equal measure. 

For Ulysses, his most profound and enjoyable experiences were on the battlefield, where he stood side by side with his mariners, men of great courage and integrity. Whilst we might feel like the significance of our lives has waned during the pandemic, it is important to remember that there are those who continue to fight for us all. The NHS front line workers, the staff in care homes and all other key workers have worked tirelessly and sacrificing the safety of their own families for the sake of the greater good. Their silent selfless acts of heroism, with the promise of very little reward, shall not go unnoticed by the masses.  

We must remember that, like all things, the apparent futility of our suffering will end. It is our following of the rules that allows the brave soldiers on the front-line to keep fighting to restore life to its former glory. Like Ulysses and his soldiers, we are ‘one equal temper of heroic hearts’. Coronavirus has taken much, far too much, but the human spirit is indominable. Our will is forged in the fires of resolve and our strength knows no bounds. We will overcome this silent foe with resolve and courage. Very soon we will do that which once again gives us lives meaning and purpose. We too will be able ‘to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield’. 

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