"Grave Stele of a Little Girl," ca. 450-440 B.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, for this poem Korina or "Maiden."
“Grave Stele of a Little Girl,” ca. 450-440 B.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, for this poem Korina or “Maiden.”

Eternity of ageless moments, story of parental
Woes, day Korina died, life suspended in our
Hearts and on marble stele, family pathos
Twist Isle of Paros and Naxos, maiden lost to
Windswept Ægean Seas, lifeless body, surf-
Swirling curly hair, dark eyes death-eclipsed,
Broken sailing boat washed upon our shores.

An adventuresome adolescent, she took to
Cresting seas, sailing with family friends to
Naxos and return, horizon darkened, throes
Of heaving waves, those who survived said
She braved killing autumn tides until disap-
Pearing from sight, my sea sprite, in vained
Hopes, fought hard heaving foam.

How did I survive Battle of Artemisium Straits,
Havoc of sword and spear, gales sinking five-
Hundred sailing triremes, and in one day lose
Korina, only daughter to storming isthmus?
What punishment had gods decreed, scarred
Soldier, decades-spared to suffer such defeats,
Life more precious than my own?

Lo! I weep not for myself, but for her mother,
Coin for island sculptor, grave stele from finest
Parian marble, Korina’s image forever fixed,
Gentle soul, loving doves she cradled, our child
Draped in flowered linen, to rock-hewn burial
Crypt committed, with promise paid she will
Adorn outer Parthenon walls.

O! How I questioned deific ones without reason.
Whilst in eternal sleep, they wrested me awake.
Her bones turned dust, Korina is now resurrected
In living stone, in curator’s loving care, wonder
Of art history, doves and flowing gown, her head
Bowed in reverence to parents and to blesséd  gods,
After countless ages lost, adoration regained.

For more about this lovely grave stele, see this link:
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/27.45

 

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