Black Sea Rocks
And behind them all, with the great bow in her hand, stood Penelope. She was clothed in loose silks the colour of the far down deeps and hollows in the dark blue sea, and her dark hair that was black as the rocks round the sea shore was tied up with silver twine behind her head. She stood; serene, majestic, imposing; beautiful despite the lines of age and sorrow that marked her face. Her dark hair was streaked with white as the black sea rocks are streaked with barnacles, or like the rolling waves streaked with the white lace of sea foam. Pale also as that sea foam was her face; white as ashes. She stood in all her majesty, and though her form was a woman’s, slender and feeble as a young rowan tree that sways in fierce winds, her heart was stronger than the bronze of a man’s sword, else, it should have broken and fallen from the injury of many wounds as a tree falls to the blow of that sword. Twenty years since Odysseus had left his wife, a weak young mother, standing alone on the shores of Ithaca, sobbing her heart out, letting her tears splash into the blue waves. Now he returned to find a changed woman. The years of suffering had hardened Penelope and the weak heart and passionate tempers were gone. Here stood a woman who had suffered so much that nothing could wrench the tears from her dark eyes.