"The Girl or the Vase," Henryk Siemiradzki, WikiArt photo.
“The Girl or the Vase,” Henryk Siemiradzki, WikiArt photo.

Part 2: Shackles and Papyri

Chained escort to Villa of Dorieus, mistress
Knows not my native tongue, forced obedience
In democratic Athens, fate of perpetual servant,
Whilst unshackled, guards stood watch, not
What fates decreed, breasts unclad, threat of
Scourging whips, dreams Libyan desert sands,
Camel caravans, safety of remote oasis.

Freedom is smoldering wood, embers yearning
Free air, from kindling breeze, flame erupts,
Slaves revolting. Who can pray to Athena and
Jove and inflict such punishment and shame?
My heart stone-hardened, to thrust myself
Upon guard’s sword, freedom my last breath
As death awaits, hapless blood floor spilt.

Shielded in retiring years, distant voice I heard,
Kratos, Dorieus’ Thracian uncle, strength and
Stamina waned, papyri unrolled, languages of
Ancients he studied, spoke him to me, dialect
Of burnt-face Æthiopia, sands of Karnak at his
Feet flowed, when his agéd eyes and hands
Greeted mine, my chains and hatred fell away.

Languages spoken and shared, translations by
Lamp light made, ageless mysteries deciphered,
Reading until ocean dawn. As months passed,
Disparities of age and race faded, Kratos and
I strove as one, his mind a fire beacon, folklore
We shared of my desert home, our mutual
Passions soared for ancient Libya.

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

From translations together made, temple ruins
Stone walls, sand-buried copper manuscripts,
Accounts of prophets desert wandering, archaic
Gods, sailing ship voyage to Kyrene we made.
By Kratos’ decree, free woman of age I became,
Departing Athens, elder father and daughter,
Adept translator under Grecian flag and sail.

For Irta and Kratos, disparities of sex, age, and race
faded once common interests were found, for them,
translation of ancient languages and returning to
Libyan desert sands they loved.

Next is Part 3: Stars our Celestial Guide

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