Odyssey in the Afternoon by Lynn White

I remember that day of the voyage

from the moment the dawn rose

out of the golden globe

and stretched out

pink fingered roses

into the blue

of the morning,

without knowing

what was to come after,

in the afternoon

when the wind took us

to a strange land.

But I embraced its strangeness

and its indolent contented people

who showed me the lotus

and smiled

as I bit into the delight

of its flowers and fruits,


its dreamy sensations

with no need to wonder

what would to come after,

there were only afternoons,

forever afternoons.

But the moment

when I woke,

shook myself awake,

I dragged us all away

out of fear of forgetting,

forgetting where I’d come from,

forgetting where I should go

and before

I forgot to leave that place

with it’s sopheristic days

of perpetual afternoon.

And in the evening

as night fell

to envelop me

stretching out

its grey blanket

and touching me with black,

I wondered

if I would I even remember

sniffing the fragrance

of the flowers

and tasting fruit

alive with the sleepy sensations

of the days of afternoons.

I have already forgotten

to wonder

what came after.


Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud "War Poetry for Today" competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Capsule Stories, Gyroscope Review and So It Goes. Find Lynn here and here.

Author's note

Since childhood I have been fascinated by the Greek legends and written several poems about them usually linking them to aspects of modern life. This poem explores the attraction of lazing about in paradise, (perhaps a holiday island where one longs to stay forever,) and avoiding thinking of everyday life back home with all its pressures, together with the conflict arising from becoming habituated to that and losing identity, forgetting the real. I think it's a modern dilemma which can also relate to mental illnesses and diseases such as Alzeimers.

This piece was first published in New Reader, Houdini Issue, June 2020.