I. Kyra Trojan Arrow Killed.
O! Divine sacrilege that sister Kyra was battle
Killed, heroic acts performed, when lethal
Arrows shrieked, thousand points descended,
Loosed by Trojans upon Greek-held beach-
Heads and battlefields. In obedience she
Served Lord Nestor until fate’s arrow pierced
Her heart, death upon Trojan desolate strands.
In rage, I, Kypris, took to helmet and to shield,
Sword wielding too heavy for graceful arms,
My place was Yarrow gathering, honey boiling,
Bandaging wounds, taste of poppy for fire-
Searing soldier’s flesh, or when mortal breath
Ceased, those who died in honour, greatness,
And fame – timé, areté, kai kleos.
Such accolades tent-slave Kyra was not given.
As arrows rained, she died protecting Nestor,
Who in aged wisdom was armor clad but with-
Out his golden shield until Kyra fetched, Trojan
Arrows struck her down. Upon Nestor’s bed,
Kyra and I swore love as eternal sisters, her
Face pale, eyes distant, dying in my arms.
Enemy arrows reached not lapping surf, and
When skies wailed to beached triremes I fled.
Like ducklings hiding from sea-hawks, protec-
Tion of curvéd hull, crouched in waters hip-
Deep, heft of oak and oars o’erhead, shielded
From death’s storm, my heart eclipsed, gods
Unmoved by single slave girl’s demise.
Bloodstained bodies placed on funeral pyres,
I followed Nestor’s steps as he laid Kyra to
Final rest, pine torches flared, her body lost
Amongst arms and legs. By Nestor’s side,
I stood as smoke and souls rose on Æolian
Winds. “O! War the adverse tide! By holy stars,
My sister, I shall o’erturn death’s dark divide.”
To my lord Lysandros, I returned, lower-ranked
Warrior than Argonaut Nestor, to him I pleaded
My freedom buy, coin or game of chance I cared
Not which, no more sex slave to men of war,
Enduring long tent nights, male-penetrated like
Sword might, no balms or wine to soothe my
Weary wounds inflicted dusk till morning light.
II. Kypris and Nestor
My freedom purchased, Argonaut Nestor,
Clear-voiced guide, and I set sail upon Ægean
Seas to Naxos Isle, Temple of Demeter, sails
Wind-stretched tight as an archer’s bow,
Merchant ship claved cerulean seas, Kyra’s
Necklace around my neck, I felt her presence,
Her voice gentle lave upon my anxious mind.
Before approaching Demeter’s holy temple,
Rustic rites of purification we performed,
Lustration of bathing pools, votive offerings
Of figs and flowers, woven garlands made,
Twigs of myrtle adorned. By his mighty hand,
Nestor, who killed Calydonian Bear, sacrificed
Young oxen that knew not yoke nor plow.
So prepared, upon Naxos mountains we climbed,
Amongst scudding sea-clouds, light of morning
Sun our guided way. Still in his prime, Nestor
Strode arduous paths, above cypress trees to
Godly heights, sea-lands lost to radiant clouds,
Mist streaming from his hair and beard, Demeter’s
Temple first sighted in beams of morning sun.
Upon our rocky path, crone of fates and fortunes
Appeared, neither oracle nor priestess be, her
Madness blesséd curse. Some possession of dead
Kyra she desired, her necklace given, my sister’s
Fate divined in River Styx twixt living earth and
Frozen time, at Demeter’s temple steps, Kyra’s
Image was fast fixed in Naxonian marble stone.
Prostrate at Demeter’s temple steps, Nestor
And I both prayed for release of Kyra’s soul.
“Demeter, free my sister, Kyra, from marble
Cold, or spirit me away to be present with her
Soul.” O! Quaking bones, shattering teeth, I
Recollect metallic taste as lightning took my
Life, my body cast in marble white.
Though we stand watch at Demeter’s doors,
Kyra and I are sisters transformed, constellized
Airy stars, clasping each other’s loving arms,
Never separated by death or pain, we shine as
Luminescent winter lights, guiding ships of
Nestor and his Argonauts to trackless waves
Beyond rhythmic sway of Greek Ægean Seas.
Why was Messier Object 78 chosen for this poem? Luminous light of M-78 is formed when nebula dust cloud reflects light from two 10th magnitude stars,* for this poem Kyra and Kypris. There is poetry amongst the stars!
* The two stars are HD 38563A and HD 38563B in Orion constellation.