Put in mind of his own father and moved to tears
Achilles took him by the hand and pushed the old king
Gently away, but Priam curled up at his feet and
Wept with him until their sadness filled the building.
Taking Hector's corpse into his own hands Achilles
Made sure it was washed and, for the old king's sake,
Laid out in uniform, ready for Priam to carry
Wrapped like a present home to Troy at daybreak.
When they had eaten together, it pleased them both
To stare at each other's beauty as lovers might,
Achilles built like a god, Priam good-looking still
And full of conversation, who earlier had sighed:
'I get down on my knees and do what must be done
And kiss Achilles' hand, the killer of my son.'
lives in: Belfast, United Kingdom
Michael Longley was born in Belfast in 1939, and educated at The Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Trinity College Dublin, where he read Classics. For twenty years he worked for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland where he initiated the programmes for Literature, the Traditional Arts (mainly Irish music) and Arts in Education. He has been a freelance writer since 1991, apart from semesters as Writer Fellow at Trinity College Dublin in 1993 and, in 1997, as Visiting Professor at Emory University Atlanta.
Michael Longley has received honorary degrees from Queen’s University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin, the Open University and University College Dublin. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of Aosdana. He was the winner of the American Ireland Fund Literary Award in 1996. In 2001 he received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, and in 2003 the Wilfred Owen Award. He was awarded a CBE in 2010, and was the Ireland Professor of Poetry from 2007 to 2010.
He and his wife the literary critic, Edna Longley, live and work in Belfast.
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