Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Beckham as Achilles

In the talk I give at schools, How to Write a Great Story, I always start by telling them about Achilles and his heel and why it is necessary to give your hero an 'Achilles Heel'. Last week the great David Beckham tore his Achilles tendon. Britain's poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, wrote this brilliant poem about him, entitled 'Achilles'.

Achilles

Myth's river - where his mother
dipped him, fished him, a slippery
golden boy flowed on, his name on
its lips.

Without him, it was prophesied,
they would not take Troy.

Women hid him, concealed him in
girls' sarongs; days of sweetmeats,
spices, silver songs...

But when Odysseus came, with an
athlete's build, a sword and a shield,
he followed him to the battlefield,
the crowd's roar.

And it was sport, not war,
his charmed foot on the ball...

But then his heel, his heel, his heel...


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