Diomedes, you were a great hero not only
Because your deeds against the Trojans were glorious,
But also because you dared to raise your hand against the gods.
You vanquished Aeneas, the Trojan son of Aphrodite,
And when she snatched him from the jaws of death by your hand,
You sank your spear unto the goddess’s wrist and bravely
Wounded her. And when the god Apollo whisked Aeneas
Away, you gave pursuit and thrice attempted to
Slay the Trojan showing no fear of the reaction of
The god. You were a mortal fighting the immortals,
A human with a mighty and divine thirst spurred
By immense courage and inflexible will!
But you knew in your heart as we all do in
Our pitiful humanness that we are just pawns
In the great epic game of chess of the almighty gods.
You were aware that there’s only one will and it is theirs!
In fact, Goddess Athene saved your life when she deflected
Pandarus’s deadly arrows. Even your life you
Owe to them! And in the Trojan War the gods chose
The victors and the outcome of the battles!
Never the Achaens did win the war!
Neither did Achilles, Odysseus or you!
It was the will of the Immortals!
Where is the dignity of man, his freedom,
In matters so momentous as the destiny of nations?
Is it at all possible that....we have no will?
But you struck back, Diomedes, and by that
Action you deserve to become one of them!
(Hyde Park, Chicago, 8-10-86)