though teenagers adore Odysseus,
action hero, here's what they don't get:
Penelope as a romantic lead.
She makes them squirm. They want a Juliet
(not someone's mother)—and for Telémakhos.
The royal pair mingled in love, they read,
disgusted: Over forty, love is gross.
But in his own way, Beowulf is worse.
Fifty winters a king, and at his gold
jubilee he slays the Geatish curse?
A dragon? He's, like, seventy; he's old!
Unseemly! Some day soon they'll get the verse
about old age—to strive, to seek, to find
what some day they will need: an open mind.