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This article is taken from PN Review 243, Volume 45 Number 1, September - October 2018.

The Iliad in Birmingham Hexameters
Selected extracts from The Iliad in Birmingham Hexameters1
Sam Trainor
Oi, Goddess, sing us a song, bab: that one about Achilles,
Peleus’s mardy nipper, who got a proper cob on,
Causing all kinds of grief for his brave Achaean muckers.
Shed loads of souls got sent to Hades thanks to face-ache –
It was all-you-can-eat dead meat for the carrion crows and stray dogs.

I. THETIS WEEDLES A FAVOUR OUT OF ZEUS (1:493–530)

Twelve nights had passed since the barney, and just as morning was breaking,
All the immortals were wending their way back to Olympus,
Zeus at the head of the crew. Thetis had not forgotten
What she’d promised her son, so up from the sea she floated,
Rising to heaven at dawn, and climbed to the top of Olympus.
There she found beady-eyed Zeus, son of Kronos, sitting,
All on his tod, on one of the mountain’s highest ridges.

Kneeling in front of him, cuddling his knees with her left hand,
Stroking his chin with her right, Thetis pleaded with great Zeus:
‘Godfather, I’ve always done you proud with the other immortals;
It’s about time, mighty Zeus, that you returned the favour:
Stick your neck out for my son, the one who’s doomed to die young.
King Agamemnon has robbed him, disrespected the poor boy,
Swiped his trophy girlfriend like a bit of plunder.
Now only Zeus can help him, wisest of the Olympians:
Throw all your weight behind ...


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