"In the Peristyle, John William Waterhouse, 1874, Wikemedia photo. For this poem, Iokaste, luminous sea clouds marble enshrined.
“In the Peristyle, John William Waterhouse, 1874, Wikemedia photo.

Bronze dagger we kept above hearth stones,
Its purpose since childhood known, each
Knew our fate if enemies breached our gates,
Not be taken alive, forced into servitude or
Slavery, shackles and chains these wrists and
Ankles would never know, death preferred to
Dragging weight, defeat by enemies hands.

Animal sacrifices we had witnessed, fire and
Black smoke plumes rising to gods, such our
Fate would be, painless sharp blade, life-
Blood pouring, as with pigs and sheep, eyes
Glazing, death’s shadow approaching, dark
Wings hovering, divine light breaking, warm
Embrace of ancestors who took dutiful path.

Since age eight, we were so taught. Papa with
Hammer and iron punch, tapped first letter our
Names on gleaming blade, sacred ceremony,
With each rap our destiny sealed: to train, fight,
And to conquer our foes, hearth and home, three
Daughters, one son, Aleka, Lyrus, Katrien, and
Dennit, four letters metal inscribed: A. Λ. Κ. Δ.

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