“Azaleas,” Albert Joseph Moore, circa 1868, WikiArt.

Part 6: Menrva, Two Fates, Same Words (Last)

Gods and earth joined, golden sun-chariot
Heavens claimed, dawn purging darkness,
Mountains shook, creation arose from clay,
Seeds sprouting, crops growing, blooming
Almond trees, first fruit offerings. Sunlit
Passing moments, life time-fragile, few
Things survived fleeting decades, save love,
Written word until papyri dust-dissolved.
How can man endure time’s march? Rituals,
Ceremony to gods, prayers and hymns,
Reflections of divine in mortal life, essence
Of Menrva’s bronze mirror, images reflected
Therein, Etruscans believed the soul. Thus,
Related Larcen, to Cosimia, myself, Iliona.[1]

“Child, your name bespeaks of the universe,”
Larcen stated to Cosimia, insights oft thought,
But never aloud spoken, lest we test our fates,
Mother-daughter paired destinies. Yet, sins
We had committed, entering gates of Vetluna,
Seeking Thania, priestess of Menrva, wisdom
Possessing, some believed Apulu’s Sibyl reborn,
Our search for place of peace, beyond warring
Factions, death on killing fields, Etruscans
Versus nascent Romans. Menrva’s mirror in
Hand, to Larcen shown, grand gift he surmised,
Goddess sending us to Cycladic times, not as
Punishment but peace-seeking reward. Lo!
Home of Greek Cumae we most preferred.

“Ancient Rome in a Village,” Henryk Siemiradzki, circa 1880, WikiArt.

My fourth question to Thania, mirror poised
To face, watchful eye of Larcen, as Keeper
Of time, he believed my questions he could
Answer. “Before you ask your question,” he
Began, “How do you define soul, the senses,
What you perceive. Do you prefer state of
Peace, no illness or disease? All this I can
Offer you upon sequestered Ægean isles.”
“Mother, listen, to what Larcen says,” plead
Cosimia, yet I felt compelled to stray from
This predetermined path. “Thania, how may
I go home?” I blurted, inadvertently omitting
Cosimia, eyes fearful, time-torn fates, this
Very moment tearing us apart.

“Your fourth question, I shall answer on
Behalf of Menrva,” Thania stated mirror
Face-to-face. “That which you have known
in Cumae, Vetluna, temples, sanctuaries,
No longer exist, thousand mortal years
Have passed, Etruscan city states razed
To rubble.” Blood from head leaving, to
Ground, I collapsed at Cosimia’s feet, to
Her mirror tumbling. “Two fates, same
Words, destinies Menrva cast,” Thania’s
Words hillside echoing. “Cosimia, you will
Go, you will return, not in war shall you
Die. Iliona, you will go, you will return
Not, in war you shall die.” [2]

“Burial of Atala,” Anne-Louis Girodet, 1808, WikiArt.

“You are time-taken!” stated Larcen as
Sands of deific hourglass swept me away,
Landing on warring Tiber River shores,
Armies fighting on surrounding hills,
Arrows shrieking overhead. Alas! Deadly
Darts struck down. I was, woman out of
Place and time, last earth-living thoughts,
Cosimia to home, ancient Cumae, had
Returned, wars for her averted. What do
I remember? Beginnings, endings, moments
On brine-slick decks, approaching Corsi
Isle, memories in death regretted. Fifth,
Final question to Menrva, “Goddess, to
Cosimia, how may I return?”

For now, Iliona, Cosimia’s mother, is death-lost to underworld, neither in Greek Cumae nor Cycladic time and isles. Please see footnotes for references:
1. Pendergast, Mark, “Mirror, Mirror: A History of the Human Love Affair
with Reflection,” Basic Books, NYC 10016, pages 8 and 9. (Searchable on-line.)
2.  http://ancient-greece.org/history/delphi.html
Thanks for reading this six-part Cosimia poem.

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