I wrote this poem as a part of my Humanities culminating project, which was based off of the following quote from the Iliad:

“I have endured who no one on earth has ever done before – I put to my lips the hands of the man who killed my son.” -King Priam

This poem is written from the perspective of King Priam, who’s son Hector was killed by Achilles (the Greek’s best warrior).


When I look in the mirror
I see old, weary eyes.
I see a man, hurt and heart broken.
I see a father that grieves his children.

But when they look
They stop to marvel.
“We hear you prospered once,” they say,
From Lesbos, to Phrygia, to Hellespont.

This crown on my head;
It whispers lies, it deceives your eyes.
I weep and I sleep and I grieve.
Can’t you see I’m just like you?

Now I find myself here at your feet;
The Great King of Troy!
And this situation feels so strange,
But I know others have done the same.

Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting—
How can I forget Hector?
And I can’t possibly say,
“What you did to me was okay.”

I can’t continue holding this against you,
Allowing what you’ve done to inhibit my own happiness,
Controlling me, holding me.
I refuse to become a slave to sadness.

That’s why I’m here,
On my knees, head bowed.
I’m here to say, “I forgive you.”

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