"Prophetic tide" is a contemporary rendition of the mythical hero Odysseus, described in the epic poems of the Odyssey and the Illiad, attributed to the ancient greek poet Hommer. The warrior king of Ithica, Odysseus, or Ulysses in Roman times, was a crucial proponent in the Illiad, which recounts the legendary Trojan war. His scheme for the wooden "Trojan horse", guided by the goddess Athene, secures the Greek victory. In the Odyssey, which recounts Odysseus' troubled journey home to his kingdom, his character is developed and elaborated on by Hommer. Odysseus tactical skill, cunning and innovative nature was admired by the ancient greeks and his exploits were celebrated in various art forms. Roman appreciation was less favourable and he was seen as sly, cruel and dishonourable. Odysseus reappears briefly in Dante's Inferno, where he is encountered in hell suffering for his sins of deceit perpetrated in the Trojan war.

In present times, the myth endures, and the tenacious and troubled adventurer continues to inspire literature and the genre of film. The modern relevance is a testament to the themes and observations of the human character inherent in the homeric epics.

The work presents Odysseus inclined on a rocky throne, companioned by a cormorant and the double profile of man and bird gaze seawards. The "prophetic tide" alludes to an image of Calypso the sea nymph, who has kept the sullen hero captive on her island. The rendition is a homage to the myth and narrative and Odysseus' exploits are eroded into the very rock he is seated on and his prophetic future is glimpsed in his billowing cloak.

The ragged clothes of Odysseus describe his exile from his homeland and kingship, albeit in the company of a demi-goddess, who's love holds him hostage. The episode anticipates Odysseus' imminent release, by the intervention of the Olympian gods. There is an overwhelming sombreness to the scene as Calypso is forced to relinquish her hearts prize, and Odysseus' realisation that he must endure further torments at the hands of the god Posiedon.