"Penelope," John Stanhope, 1849, WikiArt photo.
“Penelope,” John Stanhope, 1849, WikiArt photo.

Part 3: Ages of Iron and Bronze

Ebb and flow of fates, dark-clouded sky, Korina
Became as waterfall, liquid and translucent, lost
To enigma, suspended between ages of iron and
Bronze. Whilst I remembered family, her memories
Were tapestry, woven by deific hands. She knew of
Athena before Athens awakened, dreams mystical,
My sister’s mind had taken wingéd flight.

As Korina’s thoughts expanded beyond stout Wall
Of Souls, weathered images came to life, Attic soldiers
Battle-killed, horses hooves and chariot wheels, storm-
Lost ship crews, in strong relief, they paraded breadth
And length of stony threshold, never beyond its shadow
For they themselves were shade, sword and spear, each
Taunting Korina to breach time-crumbled spans.

Whether in fear or despair, Korina reached across
Divide of time, specters swirling round her, bathed
Was I in warm sunshine, bright colours of autumn
Days. Our fingers touching, she leapt and stumbled
At my feet. In defiance of gods, she was once again
Herself, childhood memories and belovéd doves
Restored, longing for her given days.

From this overt act, there was no junction to return,
No long and difficult defile to undo what gods forbade.
Once broken, time flowed to black void, and thus was
Korina, neither living nor dead, her fondest memories
Cast forever in stone, made fast into the Wall of Souls.
After wresting from ageless barricade, returned were
Soldiers and sailors, frozen again in place.

"Grave Stele of a Little Girl," ca. 450-440 B.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“Grave Stele of a Little Girl,” ca. 450-440 B.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

As years passed, I did as unraveling gods first decreed,
I visited Korina, beginning once winter snows melted
On imposing peaks. At her side, I spoke to her as if
She listened, awaiting any promise of movement, doves
Fluttering from her arms. Eventually her image faded
Only visible in low-lying evening sun, Korina, sister
Lost to fever, stone, and to mortal sight.

In this poem, I envisioned the “Wall of Souls” consisting of
grave stelai of Iron and Bronze Age dead, soldiers, sailors,
and plague victims from Greek antiquity, including that of young Korina. Thanks for reading.

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