Part 2: Oracular Phœnix
Linens from my bed, Donya made thobe of
Wingéd sleeves, face and body concealed,
Lydian slave ushered onto sailing merchant
Ship. To the master I gave stolen rings and
Bracelet. “Do not sell in Athens.” He nodded.
“Where ever winds take us, we will go,” I
Stated. “Chains and shackles I require, stout
Stick for beating.” Hand and foot, I chained
Donya to ship’s mast, stick scolded.
Soldier searching for Donya boarded ship,
Eyes fixed upon my slave. “For three gold
Coins, she is yours,” I said. He responded
Not. “Two gold coins.” With my stick, her
Thobe he raised, soot-streaked legs revealed.
“Two gold coins,” I repeated. “Not interested,”
He said, leaving as first bow lines heaved.
By building wind and waves, Athens receded,
Our fates cast upon cerulean seas.
Descending storm clouds, lighting-bolts heaven
Streaking, lantern light divine blazed on ship
Mastheads, goddess assumed blue and violet
Flames upon Donya’s chains and shackles, by
Deific illumination body and soul sanctified.
Her fetters broken free, Donya knew not
Herself embodied new, hundred voices sang
Aloud from her tongue and lips, transformed
From princess-slave to oracular phœnix,
Destiny inscribed across storming skies.
Beneath celestial canopy, wind-stretched sails,
Following seas guided sailing ship to unknown
Lands, beyond distant horizons Donya could
Perceive, sights strange to tell, young phœnix
Confided in me, Kandake, elder mother, marble
Temples mountain built, where voice of gods
Echo resounded through oracles divine, wisdom
Beyond gold and jewels, arduous, prayerful
Pilgrimage awaiting Donya and myself.
Reference to “lantern light divine blazed on ship
mastheads,” is St. Elmo’s Fire, (not the movie) but
storm-related phenomena, mentioned in Shakespeare’s
“The Tempest,” Act 1, Scene 2:
I boarded the Kings’ ship; now in the beak,
Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin,
I flamed amazement; sometime I’d divide
And burn in many places; on the topmast
The yards and bowsprit, would I flame distinctly
Then meet and join.