Walter Mencken 10:06 a.m., Feb. 6
An Iliad, a stage piece based on Homer's epic poem, opens this Friday night at the La Jolla Playhouse. I offer the following as evidence of my lifelong fascination with Homer and the tale of Troy. I think I was 17 or18 when I wrote it.
"Come look, father! Oh come see all the lights! Never have I seen the like. The whole beach is bright with campfires - as bright as noon. Like the torches of our palace they flicker in the dark night. And so many! There must be more fires than stars in the sky!
"And come see all the mighty ships! They line the sand to the horizon's end. Ships from many lands, father (some even larger than ours). And such strange shapes - who knows how they crossed the sea!
"Some lie flat, almost, on the water - for speed? They must bounce like a bubble in a good breeze. Others must have fifty oars.Still others with hulls so deep they must anchor off-shore, away from the warm fires and the smell of the inner-meats (may they please the gods) roasting on great spits.
"Oh yes, and father? Come now and see the city that stole the Spartan's bride. Up there it lies, on a hill at the end of the plain. Its torches, too, burn a hole into the night. And its towers must pierce the clouds.
"Come see it, father. Let the men unload the ships and sharpen your spears! Come with me at once and see it all!"