Part 1: Birth in Ancient Tombs
Into harsh night two sisters fled, Dordei and
Rheta, earthquakes reduced their Naxos sea
Village to rubble. Dordei round with child,
Rheta guided her to distant hilltops, still
Trembling by Neptune’s might. As fisher
Wives, they feared their husbands were wave-
Drowned, boats, sails, and nets all sea-lost,
Two women by lantern light, struggling on
Ascending trails, refuge of higher ground.
Before Rheta and Dordei stone-fractured
Marble walls collapsed, shelter in panicked
Storms, they stumbled into ancient tombs,
Dordei’s water broken. By flickering light,
Rheta delivered boy infant upon bones of
Warring dead, her linen gown torn to wrap
And warm newborn. Skulls of armored-clad
Skeleton haunting, hollow eyes gazing, magic
Spells descended upon Dordei’s child.
With tomb-found bronze dagger, Rheta cut
Infant’s cord, tied with fillets from her hair.
Baby crying aloud, his first breaths of death-
Musty air, Dordei’s placenta delivered into
Concave shield. Rolls of inked papyri they
Set aflame, foreign crests, languages scarcely
Read. warming fires kindled at tomb entrance.
O! What soul would inhabit this child? What
Name would he be given?
Mysteries of Naxian caves, gods born and raised,
Souls of war dead dark-residing. By sacred flame,
Water and blood of birthing mother laved on
Scattered bones, incantations to raise ancient
Dead. O! Cradled-cave of fate! Ceremonial bronze
Dagger, bringer of death and new life, severed
Mother from child, secured by Rhea’s fillets,
Child guardian sister became, by these archaic
Rites, quickened life realized.
Infant at Dordei’s breast, sisters chose dead
Father’s name, Cadmus. Yet placenta bearing
Shield fell to floor, “Kirkor” crest thereon,
Earth-trembling omens, stentonian voices
Penetrated sister’s minds, seed planted, for
Moments they resisted, infant turned lifeless
Grey. By curse or magical spell, shade of
Kirkor smoke emerged, entering Dordei’s
Child, claiming new life as his own.
In Greek mythology, caves were nursing places for
gods. As legend tells, child Zeus was saved by Cybele
or Rhea (as in “Rheta”) and cave-raised on Crete
or Isle of Naxos. Other gods, including Apollo, Ares,
and Dionysus are associated with Naxos. Caves on
Naxos have yielded significant archaeological
treasures, much like the cave-tomb in this poem.
Next is: “Part 2: Kirkor Revealed.”