Achilles and Penthesilea, Bertel Thorvaldsen, 1837, Museum Syndicate.
Achilles and Penthesilea, Bertel Thorvaldsen, 1837, Museum Syndicate.

Dreams I tell of Greek visions, ancient and
Alluring, my mind across winter oceans
Winging to cerulean Ægean shores, com-
Munion of lost shades and souls, Trojans
Versus Greeks, warring Attica plight, death
Of gallant Amazon queen, Penthesilea, by
Achilles’ swift-sword fight, raging battle-
Fields, the peoples’ glorious hero, heart-
Dazed in pallid-stricken grief.

From Pantheon heights, Athena witnessed
Blesséd Achilles smashing Penthesilea’s
Breastplate to bloodstained ground, blade
To heart, fighting passions transformed
From battle wrath to adoring love. When
Her helmet he removed, first sight of
Amazon beauty, Achilles fell enamored
With his murdered queen, unexpected
Turn, Fortune’s wheel of fate.

While admiration of her beauty would
Suffice, Achilles took dying Penthesilea
In his arms, and in his muscled might,
Penetrated her again, his impregnating
Seed unleashed. Whilst she lived mere
Moments from mortal wounds inflicted,
The warrior-queen was ardently conceived,
Fledgling life Athena wrested from her
Vanquished womb, weeping and profane.

Can such love on battlefields exist? Troy’s
Sword-scarred soldiers did acclaim such
Unholy acts Achilles committed, life so
Grievously taken, so heinously made, Pen-
Thesilea, became death’s child-bearing
Slave, assaulted realmless queen. Athena’s
Machinations wrought heart pains, mother-
Less girl, Althea the goddess named, saved
From corruption, certain death.

Whilst floating in ocean dreams, I traveled
Time three-thousand years past, triremes
Sailing Ægean seas, horses’ hoofs and chariot
Teams, Penthesilea’s shade wandered lone-
Some ocean strands, loss of life and daughter
In one blow, she uttered piercing cries, battle-
Defeated in life and love by Achilles and the
Gods, her soul burned like fighting ships
Set ablaze by archer’s arrowed flames.

In light divine, Athena peered into my soul,
Discovering Thera in our hidden past, and in
Obedience to Athena, votive sacrifices she
Often made. The goddess re-spun time’s warp
And woof, sequestered ancient life amongst
Olive groves and almond trees, and to my
Ægean mother twins sisters were born, Thera
And Penthesilea, who raised an orphaned babe,
Althea, her parent-given name.

Separated from war’s wrath, the three in peace
And comfort lived, beyond Achilles’ wanton
Reach, a child who nursed on mother’s milk
And nectar of the gods. Once of age, helmeted
Althea took to wielding weapons, thus evil acts
Ensued. She searched out Achilles’ battlefront,
Destiny Athena had decreed. With one swift blow
To his breastplate, a maidens’ wingéd thrust,
Althea slew Achilles guided by Athena’s hand.

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