"Modesty," William-Adlophe Bouguereau, 1902, WikiArt photo.
“Modesty,” William-Adlophe Bouguereau, 1902, WikiArt.

Part 1: Kabyrah Resurrected

Found unconscious in meadow streams,
Adolescent girl, breathing, moaning when
Moved, she had trekked far, her legs and
Woolen gown bramble-torn. Unveiled face
Spoke of foreign parentage, across rugged
Mountain passes, summer peaks blustery-
Cold. Torches, alarms raised, listless child
Brought to me, Tal’May, village elder woman,
Highland healer of nomadic shepherd clans.

Dark eyes vacant-dull, lifeless body pale-
Cold, raging hearth fire built, warm baths
Cleaning scrapes, bramble-cut wounds,
Life in hands of ancient gods, prayers rising
As smoky flame. Talisman placed on chest,
Bitter herbs upon her lips, pained gasp of
Breath, she blurted, “Messenger I have seen.”
Repeated this in frenzied state, tremulous
Naked girl, her name given as Kabyrah.

Lo! Soul in downward swooping flight,
Kabyrah resurrected, fell blanket-covered
Into my arms asleep. All-night vigil kept,
Until predawn morning, she leapt to feet.
“Messenger I have seen, visions upon rocky
Heights.” Sips of tea, doughy part of honey
Bread, Kabyrah new life breathed. Eyes of
Deific flame, face and breasts red-blushed,
Tears streaming recalling airy sights, with
Proclamation all vitality regained.

"Portrait of an Old Woman," Guido Reni, 1630, WikiArt photo.
“Portrait of an Old Woman,” Guido Reni, 1630, WikiArt.

Of ancient age, some heard of Messenger,
Divine prophet roaming these pasturelands,
Living to old age, body tomb buried, time-
Sealed granite sarcophagus. Light from her
Brow beaming, Kabyrah pilgrimage she would
Take, me accompanying her, she knew not
Where or how. At first light, we struck out on
Foot to sun-gleaming mountain peaks, odyssey
Of elder mother’s skepticism, of youthful
Vision and undaunted faith.

Poetic odeyessy begins, two women of differing
ges and faiths, two lives begin anew on pilgrimage. 

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