"Thetis Bringing Armor to Achilles," Benjamin West, WikiArt photo.
“Thetis Bringing Armor to Achilles,” Benjamin West, WikiArt photo.

Part 3: Time-Cleaved Destiny

Ten-thousand arrows reversed thundering
Skies, bow and quiver returning, thousand
Dead soldiers arose, with them was Æleon,
Magic spells of sage and archaic gods. Ships
Unbeached, backward sailing on trackless
Seas, bodies awaiting funeral pyres awakened
From all-consuming flames, life histories
Unhinged in havoc and discord.

Across sweet-flowing streams Æleon and
I strove, yet thousand soldiers received no
Benefit of sanctifying prayers, returning
Home to crops sun-scorched, fields burning,
Families enchained as slaves, for loss of
These soldiers, legions died, warring tribes
Invaded Demeter-protected farmlands,
Villages of the goddess were destroyed.

Of horrors we sing, mortal and divine! Dawn
And dusk unseated, sun west rising, pale
Moon in sorrowed orb, Oxylos yielding to
Cynara’s pleas, swords and spears bent to
Useless bronze, retreat of embattled victory,
Timé, acreté, kleos* defiled by carrion birds,
Wisdom and memory unwound by incantations
For unwitting couple, Æleon his bride.

For Æleon and I, sacrifices were too grievous.
To lantern light he could not return, nor I to
our Attic home. Prayers to Demeter we made,
Sage’s spell she altered, her farmlands restored
As once known. Thus, we remained time-torn,
Wandering mountain highlands, child growing
Within, we chased echoes of our children cries,
Having never crossed sweet-flowing streams.

"Portrait of a Woman," Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1902, WikiArt photo.
“Portrait of a Woman,” Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1902, WikiArt photo.

As ages passed, Greek foes defeated, Demeter,
Recast our time and place. With rounding child,
I awakened with Æleon and our children on
Mountain meadows, sunlit flowering fields, no
Threat of violence, injury or disease, thousand
Years before killing wars, with us was Æleon’s
Lantern, warm light on chilly nights as we began
Our life and family anew.

* Honour, Greatness, Fame.

Endings for this poem were variable. I wrote
several, more melancholy and forlorn. Æleon,
Cynara, and their children would never return
to their Attic home. Consistent with Greek myth-
ology, one Greek god could alter but not undo
machinations of another deity. To restore
her beloved farmlands, Demeter reshaped the
couple’s fate, thus their “Time-Cleaved Destiny.”
Thus concludes this poetic trilogy on transmigration.

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