As The Tears Go By
Shining hot tears like molten gold coursed down the face of Odysseus. Each a bright testimony to the many loved companions lost in battle and the misadventures of travel; and an even brighter testimony of the pain of separation from home and family for so many years.
Only Alkinoos next to Odysseus could sense her silent sobs as she shrugged in grief. This was not right. Neither Alkinoos nor Arete had meant the proceedings of the day to be the cause of anguish, but of great cheer. Alkinoos consulted a moment with his partner, then turned to the crowd. "Please, everyone, silence for a moment. Since our poet has put hand to harp and sung of recent events, our guest has not left off weeping. True etiquette calls for a banquet to end with guests feeling a smiling sense of satisfaction. We have offered our honoured guest a fast ship home and gifts such as any sensible ruler would give to a decent petitioner. We truly mean to treat him like a member of our family."
Alkinoos turned to face Odysseus directly, "Come tell us, what is your name, how are you known by friends, family and compatriots? What far land is it that you are from? And how can it be that Demodokus' tale, a tale of Argives and Trojans alike meeting grief and glory, is the source of so much sorrow to yourself? Did you lose beloved kin or friends closer than blood can tie in that conflagration?
"Do not feel at our mercy to reveal these things. But we too risk every time we offer passage. For as my grandfather told me, Poseidon is jealous of our ships which provide such sure conveyance to our passengers, and one day phe will wreck one of our homebound Windstars and threaten all of the island. Nevertheless, it is our joy to travel the world in this way, providing transport to whomever, and then coming home again. We choose to live according to our joy rather than our fear. Please, likewise do not fear to tell us your story."