Part 1: One Destiny Revealed
Frantic child at my door, tearful help-pleading,
Her gown blood-stained, spoil of war, her
Marriage arranged to older man, wounded
Doubly by abrading shackles and her suitor,
Tongue foreign to my ears, upon prayerful
Knees she appealed to me and gods, thus
Implored, life tortuous maze, Lydian princess
Named Donya, abducted from family of noble
Blood, enchained on Athens-destined trireme.
Into my home she came, presented me with
Jewels handful. “Wedding gifts or did you take
Them?” Donya’s eyes betrayed her. Concealed
Within her gown, bloody dagger, I knew better
Than to ask, princess thief and murderess
Stood naked, truth and body, at my hearth,
Wrists and ankles shackle-abraded, raised
Whelps from back caning. Thus, committed
Was I to her, despite dangers to myself.
O! Shackled hands lifted to heaven high, gods
Heard Donya’s prayers, child a living sacrament,
Oils upon open wounds, wine soul-replenishing,
Water her salvation, new life upon ocean waves,
Guided to me, Kandake, war widow, elder mother,
Savior of violated adolescent girl, dagger swift
Lydian princess, transformation from aristocracy
To slave, all things harm-done reversed to save,
Fates intricate as wall mosaic, thousand pieces of
Glass and stone, one destiny revealed.
Rituals of ancients, with dagger sharp, I cut
Donya’s long locks, offerings cast into hearth
Fires, giving of oneself, except hair full-flowing.
Bloody gown burned upon altar of deliverance,
Stains of defiler and young womb admixed, dark-
Pungent smoke gods rising. Two kindred souls
Swept into cresting waves, Donya and I stole away
To merchant sailing ship, where she pleaded,
“Mother, this sea journey I cannot do alone.”
Thus sea journey begins for Donya and Kandake.
For more on ancient Lydia (not Libya) see this link: