To the playwright whose bald head was mistaken for a stone

Published by Inky Needles

Dear Aeschylus

I’ve just read on Wikipedia
how you are said to have been killed in 456 or 455 BC
by a tortoise dropped by an eagle
who mistook your bald head for a stone.

I’m no expert so I’m really struggling to imagine
who must have been more surprised,
the tortoise, the eagle, or you

on your journey back from the theatre,
a hit on your hands,
proud in your working robes
with maybe a stick for support,

the short-sighted eagle doing the rounds,
grabbing more than it could carry,
but at least having the sense to let go,

and the tortoise, calm, measured, unhurried
until dropped at a speed and from a height unknown to tortoises.

In many ways the entire sequence of your death is quite beyond me.

But in any case I just wanted to assure you that even today
tragedy and slapstick remain delicately intertwined
in all matters concerning the destiny of man.