"Gate of Shehal Morocco," Edwin Lord Weeks, 1800, WikiArt photo.
“Gate of Shehal Morocco,” Edwin Lord Weeks, 1800, WikiArt photo.

Part 3: Stars our Celestial Guide

Like shipwreck ruins upon jutting headlands,
Papyri yearned discovery, sand-buried beneath
Temple foundations, urns of knowing wisdom,
Religious thought of ancients, by camel caravan,
Kratos and I desert trekked, following steps of
Prophets, oasis we rested traveling dusk to
Dawning sunlight, stars our celestial guide.

By faith and prayer, Kratos rebuffed heat and
Expanse of trackless sands, ruins we arrived,
Copper tablets and urns unearthed, cryptic
Languages requiring weeks to translate, our
Thoughts and souls merged as one in love
mortal-divine as deserts nights gave way to
Our mutual dawn, awakened and enlightened.

Such were holy texts translated, “So long as
The prophet beheld earth and starry heaven
And strong-flowing sea where fishes shoal,
And rays of sun, and held hope to embrace
Dear family, chosen tribes of one God, heights
Of mountains and depths of sea rang with
Song and praise in one immortal voice.”*

Given all to copper and papyri, one cold morn,
Whether thirst, hunger, or released to God,
Kratos awakened not, his face agéd yet radiant,
Held to my breast as mother to babe, life-flame
Extinguished, dying in arms, tears lost to sand,
Buried with urns and papyri we loved, as pro-
Phet decreed, his soul on golden chariots rose.

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

Camels in desert caravans, slave girl of Kyrene,
Such weight of destiny, prophetess I became,
Descendants of sun-burnished tribes, wandering
Desert seas, never ceasing strides, oases to
Humble villages, I spoke of one God, that none
Should perish without fount of knowledge, for
I had known redeeming love, mortal and divine.

* Adapted from The Homeric Hymn “To Demeter.”

This concludes the three-part “Irta and Kratos”
poems. Whilst not 
intended to be allegorical,
who might Irta and Kratos represent?

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