“Allegory of Fortune,” Dosso Dossi, 1538, WikiArt.

Part 4: Ægean Sea and Silver Moon

Moonlight ocean-reflecting, eternal tug of
Tides, advancing and retreating, Ægean
Sea whispered to silver moon, “Gypsy
Beekeeper sails to Thessaly, designs upon
Your mistress, to injure not to kill.” Name
Of Aglaonike was not spoken aloud, lest
She awaken to the plot. “Gods of solar
Beams absconded with gypsy’s infant son,”
Sea added to persuade. In silence, full
Moon secreted behind scudding ocean
Clouds, observing merchant ship, Aketra,
And her bees. “Would enchantress lose
Power over me?” Moon asked of wine-
Dark seas. Nodding brine confirmed.
“Speak no more of this,” Moon advised.
“Let tides and fortunes decide.”

How deep ship cutwater wave-plows,
Destiny in fomenting wake, celestial
Interaction of gods and mortals, sails
Unfurled on seas unknown. O! Ruthless
Race, Aketra girded in crone’s charms,
Bright-banded honey bees carry more
Than stings, tiny thunderbolts, strength
Of old gods, dark-robed figure oracular
Temple appearing, ancient tripod of
Archaic deity: learnéd wisdom, love of
Divinely conceived son, past and future,
Light bestowed, fruit of Aketra’s womb.

Arriving port of Thessaly, Aketra follows
Direction of waxing moon, after sunrise
Pastel orb sky persisting. “Take this path,
Avoid another, for bathing Aglaonike
Prefers of warmth of rising sun, moon
To bed so she surmised, this morn tree-
Lined glen concealed. Hooded figure
Aketra waiting, bees buzzing, to honeyed
Flesh of bathing enchantress took arrowed
Flight, upon her shoulder blood they let,
Pained taste of metallic flame, flowered
Bathing pool, Aglaonike slumber slipped.

“Woman of Cervara and Her Child,” William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1861, WikiArt.

Silver threads connecting ethereal vault
Severed, planets and moon in disarray,
Time tumbled round and round, days
And night lost in swirling swound. Aketra
At dinner table, blood dripping from her
Nose, fainting pale onto mother’s lap,
Parents learned daughter was touched
By meadow sunlight, her newborn baby
Infant at her side, all things realized,
From mountaintops, Aketra Œtean oracle,
Guided orbits of moon and planets.

All things full-circle, fates and fortunes, gods and mortals,
to Aketra her son returned, moon and planets in balance. 
Thanks for reading this four-part poem. 

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