In the Shade of Achilles’ Shield

Part 4 of the Trojan Chronicles – Achilles reflects on Helen and the love of his life.



“Fresh rain

 a welcome spray to dampen the day –

sitting in The Coleherne,

on The Old Brompton Road,

watching the sunset traffic flows,

when he comes out framed

against the steep entrance to The Mansion Block,

thigh ripped shorts,

t-shirt plated to his chiselled chest,

stands, looks,

and I begin to anticipate his kiss.”


It was written; Troy would be my death

and much would then be said and seeded

into the parasitic shibboleth,

making sure truth and reality receded.


It is her-story, and hers alone,

the likes of me purely bystanders

lifted by her grace, each given a throne,

and honoured to be her defenders.


She emerged crispered for greatness,

skies, seas mirrored to reflect her face,

beauty untouched by the bitchiness

of brushes shading her with disgrace.


I, too, have felt that repellent paint,

applauded and ridiculed in turn,

hero now, next a cross-dressing taint.

Let these trolling commentators burn;


I am who I am, a man divine,

In love and loved by an other;

I grieved when he died before his time

suited in my armour, which proved no harbour


from the cuts of the Trojan swords.

I carried him back into my tent,

lay with him until my grief was spent,

and then I hacked out Hector’s cords,

dragged his corpse around the citadel,

cursing each, all to the deepest hell.


Patroclus was more than a fellow warrior;

I did not mourn him as a brother,

I mourned him as one mourns a lover;

the world no right to judge me further.


“Seated on our balcony beneath Achilles’ shield

we watch the sunset slowly fade

sinking in the glassed front stained glass of The Troubadour,

and we hear from within the bronze

rising his arrested spirit sing

of the need to be true in our skin,

remind us we are all God descended,

unique, each a myth in the making.”

© Bhi 2023
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The poem that launched a thousand comments about ice cream. In my case, I have the ability to empty my head (easy for me) and read something like it’s the first time i found the story. I like that the shield in this case is a non-war implement. Very good the last line, very quotable.

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