Everybody has a song of love.
My name is Kalypso and I am going to sing you my song.
I am born of the great mystery. I am the grandchild of the immortal Ocean and our mother Earth. Atlas the giant sorcerer, he who knows all the depths of the seas and keeps up the starry sky has fathered me.
My name is Kalypso and I am the spirit of the land of beauty, the island Ogygia. I take care of all feathered and fourlegged beings and everything that frolicks in the foaming waves. Freely do my beings roam and the riches of the earth surround me with their beauty. My dwelling is a grotto not easily conceived by humankind. Deep, deep into the mountain it reaches, all the way into the earth to the center of mystery. No sunlight enters this place and to a human eye there would be nothing but darkness. It is here that the inner eyes open and the heart awakens to love. No man has ever ventured so deep and thus, peace is maintained on my island.
So I thought and such was what I had known from whence time began.
But the day came, and forever it will live in my heart, that the Greatest Goddess of all saw me and my innocent bliss and wild was her wrath. She smiled at me her little smile. So sweet was her smile, so intoxicating was her scent that the roses around my dwelling forgot to send out their fragrance and the deer stopped their grazing and the chirping of the birds slowed down to a humming. The very ocean breeze came to a halt.
Life stood still.
Kalypso, she said and the sweetness of her voice seeped like honey into my ear and into my heart.
“Your days of innocent bliss are over. I will send you desire and love and devastating pain. I will teach you that being immortal means feeling immortal agony.”
“Great queen,” I said, and my voice was trembling and all the while I wanted to run and I wanted to hide and there was nowhere to go. “I surrender to your wish.”
And again she smiled her little smile and she disappeared and I came out of my stupor and I looked around. Everything was like it had been before. The birds were singing and the deer trod along their paths. The roses smelled as lovely as before. But my heart was not the same. Fragile it was and full of pain and as if something was missing. I went into my dwelling. Deep, deep down I went. Deeper I ventured than ever before. I threw myself on the ground.
“Grandmother” I cried. “The Great Goddess has appeared to me”. I could feel my Grandmother trembling beneath me. The earth was shaking and outside the cave I heared the wells and springs gushing forth stronger than before. So I fell asleep and I woke up and I was prepared to meet my destiny.
The days passed and nothing happened. I walked my path and talked to the birds and the beasts. I bathed in the rivers and ate wild honey and everything around me exuded beauty. Yet my heart found no pleasure.
On the thirteenth day I walked on the shore collecting shells for a necklace.
At that moment a terrible uproar was to be heart. A Seagull came and told the story. A great ship coming from Troy had been wrecked. All the men had died and rightly so. Had they not destroyed the city of Troy. The Beautiful. The Invincible. No human force had ever been strong enough to fight the brave men of Troy. No man but one, whose cunning spirit had devised a plan so ruthless and so cowardly, like no righteous man could ever conceive and thus the great city had fallen.
My eyes scanned the horizon. Pieces of wood came floating in. The ocean had been kind enough to wipe out all these creatures that shamed the race of man. One of the pieces that came floating in was bigger and when I could perceive it fully, there was a man clinging to it. Halfdead he was. But only half.
“Let him go.” I heard a voice calling softly. “Let him die.”
The voice kept ringing and singing and I knew it was right. But my heart is the heart of beauty and killing is not my way. I honor all life and so I called on the seals and I called on the dolphins and they brought him in.
He was not much of a man. He looked very human and very mortal and not very tall. His eyes were closed and the skin burned dark. But his clothes were not the clothes of a commoner. Of course, I knew who he was and I knew he was my destiny.
“O Great Goddess”, I cried to myself. “He might at least have been beautiful! “
Her laughter rang in my ears from afar and I did what I had to do.
I had him broughtto the shore and carried to my cavern that no human eye had ever beheld. I burnt candles of sweet beeswax all around him and with my own immortal hands I bathed him in water of honey and roses. All my maids fed him grapes and apples and secret potions of healing and love while I sang my song to him day and night. I forgot about my fourlegged friends and I forgot to listen to the singing of the birds. I watched over this one man who grew stronger each day but never awoke.
Not even on that day, when finally his eyes opened, did he awake. Blindly he stared as I showed myself to him in all my beauty. A beauty no human eye had ever conceived. A beauty not destined to be ever seen by any man. He just stared blindly and mumbled the name of his wife who probably was dead already or remarried a long time ago. Never again would he set eye on this woman and, for all I knew, her human beauty had withered a long time ago. Gently I talked to him and tried to explain all this. Gently I took his hands and layed it on my breasts. Gently I stroked his hair.
He kept staring blindly and never awoke, not even when we embraced and not even when we drank wine and danced. I offered him the food and drink of the gods, Nectar and Ambrosia, which he declined. Never was he going to be immortal, he declared, while his wife was not.
I tried everything I knew and bewitched him with all my charms and offered him the world. I sang him my song that formerly had enchanted gods and goddesses. But this human man never looked and his ears did not listen. Still, not being able to leave, he stayed around, leaving a mess in the sacred places so dear to my heart. He remained blind while being fed delicious food and being sung to by all the nymphs and mermaids of my island. My heart went sore first and dead in the end and I took to taking long walks to the places I used to love. But the spirits of all foaming fountains and lush little forests and all the fragrant flowers did not sing to me anymore. I walked and walked.
One day I came to the beach were I had found him and I threw myself onto the sand.
“O Great Goddess!” I cried. “Why did you give my heart to this human who does not know and who does not want to know beauty. Why do I have to crave for the love of so dumb a creature, a being so much less alive than any of my loving creatures.”
The laughter of the Goddess kept ringing in my ears. I stood up. I knew now what to do.
Odysseus was sitting in front of the grotto. Large plates of dead meat in front of him. He had grown quite a potbelly since he had come to the island.
“Odysseus,” I said, “My heart is in pain but Hermes wants you to go back to your home. So much love between us that will never be awakened. So go now and go fast. Build your raft and go.”
He stared at me with his blind eyes. Then he grinned his awkward grin and wiped some grease and drool off his chin. This was the man I loved!
“A pity, this is. But a great hero has to go were the gods want him to go.” he said gravely. “I am sure going to miss you, honey”, he touched my breasts and grinned some more. “A lot.”
He probably thought he was funny.
“I will need some food though. A lot.”
I was tired of him. Everything had to be a lot and then some more. My maids brought him food and he pretended to built his raft. He did not know much about manual labour. He was a king after all. So I showed him. I could not wait to see him go and by the day I sent him off , I had prepared a beautiful robe for him. I dressed him nicely and called in sweet winds to speed his departure.
He is gone now and slowly my heart is healing. Ever so often the Goddess comes and teases me.
“How did you like human love?” she asks and we laugh together like only immortals can.