At five this morning I opened half an eye
and saw your rosy fingered dawn
but I remembered it was simply time
for me to get up and put in some overtime
at the shop. In the kitchen would be
just my wife waiting for me to get out
so that she could get back in bed.
Baby keeps her up all night.
None of your people would be around, Homer,
but I had the thrill of thinking
how much it was the same dawn
as yours, five thousand years between us.
I was a bit worried about that sameness,
though, thinking I had slipped back
to be with you and had lost my wife and baby,
some unconscious wish granted, perhaps,
but then I challenged myself to see chariots
and armed Ulysses and, naturally, none of him
nor did Achilles step forward to say hello,
and that was what stood between us, Homer,
but I am writing so that you see I do believe
you’re still around, as rosy fingered dawn
keeps coming up.
David Ignatow (1914–1997) was a poet and editor. He published twenty-two collections of his poetry, and his numerous honors included a Bollingen Prize, two Guggenheim fellowships, the John Steinbeck Award, the Frost Medal, and the William Carlos Williams Award. Over the course of his career he was an editor of American Poetry Review, poetry editor of The Nation, president of The Poetry Society of America, and many other roles.