This needlework is based on Bowen’s brief letter to Gladstone, introducing his book entitled ‘Ithaca in 1850’. The street signs draw attention to George Ferguson Bowen’s and William Ewart Gladstone’s shared fascination with Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. They invite people in Brisbane, who use these street references, to reflect on Homer’s ancients in the context of contemporary Brisbane.
The Odyssey concludes with Athena’s ‘pacts of peace’.
“Hold back, you men of Ithaca, back from brutal war!
Break off – Shed no more blood – make peace at once.”
“Odysseus, master of exploits, hold back now!
Call a halt to the great leveler – War”
The following is one little reflection influenced by Cream’s song, ‘Tales of Brave Ulysses’
Acknowledge Elders past. Acknowledge Elders present
Mentor Telemachus. Young people come of age
On gunboat streets of Bowen with otherworldly Beings
William Ewart Gladstone what’s the merit of this war?
Penelope di Roma in the poetry of Homer
Classical Diploma see a fleet dreaming of home.
Candlelight resistance unravel looming progress
Ithaca Athena a veil across her cheeks
Mothers see sons’ leaf-shaped gaze turn red like water falling
On Brazen suitors swagger through an absent daughter’s waters
Some are winter springs or tomorrow some are coal fields
Oil and skins and bone dry clover cloven footprints in the mud.