“Prose,” Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1879, WikiArt.

Part 1: Immortal Fragments

We recognized each other, divine light,
Surviving flooding rains, plagues, warring
Battlefields, immortals, blessed-accursed,
Timeless, witnessing life’s fond frailties,
Love’s brief moments, tenderness, families
Wed and lost, serving souls as generations,
Cities crumbled. We oft left signs, previous
Incarnations: cave-rock drawings, rising sun,
Gods in chariots, prophets and petroglyphs,
Voices on eternal wings, one message related,
“Lo! We have walked this path before.”

Mountain passes, desert dunes, we met,
Four or five, few words spoken: “How
Long?” “Thousand years?” Life amongst
Living dwelt, one of us coined: immortal
Fragments. Ironies of existence, who were
These fragments, us or them? Mortals or
Immortals? Same with names, one for our-
Selves, never spoken, dozens for lifetimes
Spent. Upon desolate rocky heights, we
Greeted brothers and sisters: “I am Ambrose.”
Welcome, I am Cynara.” Offerings for each
Other, warm embraces, divinity in grains
Of sand, face of gods, ages finger-sifting.

Whilst immortal, we rested between lifetimes,
Dawn and dusk of decades. I took to tombs
Of dead, sleeping amongst bones, life passed
Behind bronze doors, through narrow window
Glass, sun and moon flashing lights, writing
Fragmented histories, poetry, plays, scripture,
Niche-hidden, discovered years later. Yes,
Renewal I found in death-quiet, I learnt skill of
Melting into marble, relief stone-reflected,
Listening for intruders, children, curious,
Whose eyes first fell upon my face, beard,
Tracing to hands, tablets or weapons held.

“Lidylle,” William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1850, WikiArt.

Roused by hinges squeaking, door forced
Open, knowing hand upon my leg. “Ambrose,
It is time,” Cynara advised, clarion call of
Service: healer, teacher, advent of new gods.
“How long?” I asked. “Long enough.” I under-
Stood, all I had known had died, boughs of
Family trees broken, lives leaf-fallen, I arose
Anew, young man. In name of differing gods,
Farms, fields set ablaze. Men fighting over
Pride offended? Perfumed female flesh? Desire
For power: Athens to Ankara, soldiers’ lives
Lost, sins committed against their brothers.

Sent to live amongst warring factions, Ambrose and Cynara are confronted
w
ith armies fighting over differing gods. As prophets, healers, what course
will they take? Rolls of papyri recording their “Immortal Fragments.” 

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