“Portrait of a Roman Woman,” Henryk Siemiradzki, 1890, WikiArt.

Part 2: Children of Ægina

Infant eyes opened to sunlight of distant
Foreign shores, goddess Cyllene breast-
Clutching, was I, Cosimia, reborn or cast
Asunder, midst of warring tribes? Hundred
Ships of sail confronted us, Lacedæmonians,
Island seaport set ablaze. “Trust not saving
Winds, Cosimia,” goddess said, foreseeing
Impending death, doom. Heavy-armed
Triremes, oars wave-cutting, attacked
Fleeting ships, hard-ramming speed. Before
Clash of swords, villages smoke-consumed
As deific one, children of Ægina I must save.”

Temple priestess transformed appearing,
Cyllene grasped my hand, fearful girl, we
Aloud announced, “Children, to the temple.”
In their arms, mothers brought infants,
Echoing our intentions, protection of armed
Targetiers, fifty panicked children, numbers
Increasing as villages abandoned-burned.
Truces broken upon bodies of dead, laws
Of men and gods conflicted, grief forever
Crippled Greek families of Ægean islands,
Sea-towns, until Cyllene’s intervention.

“Lambs,” William-Adolphe Bouguerau, 1897, WikiArt.

First fiery arrows falling, into sacred naos,
Feet of Aphæa-Artemis we prayed, young
Hearts, songs of loving praise, mothers,
Children sinew binding Greek islands fast.
Temple under armed-fiery siege, all present
Cyllene entangled, sky-spiraling smoke, by
Fire consumed. “How many lost?” I asked.
“Equal numbers saved as lost,” goddess
Stated, balance heavens decreed, awakened
At Œtean mountain foothills, clear-flowing
Streams, shepherdess-farmers, women,
Children, lifetimes began anew.

Second poem regarding “Children of Ægina,” in this Cosimia poem,
by deus ex machina, half were saved from warring death.
Thanks for reading.

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