“Old Man’s Head,” Jan Metejko, WikiArt.

Part 3: Mariya’s Escape (Last)

By night flames, elder-man of joined clans
Beckoned me, face cloak-hood concealed,
Hushed words at nearby standing stones.
Grey eyes and beard, he whispered, “Your
Suitor boasts of knowing your father, as did
His sword in blood-skirmish, by fatal wound
Father fell.” “How come you by this?” I asked,
Grateful as incensed, weakened in stamina by
Life-decades. “Dead-collecting wagon I rode,
Bodies buried in cave-graves.” Facts avouched
True, scandal and offence upon mother and
Myself perpetrated – or worse, she knew.

What recourse did I, Mariya, have, except this
Night to flee, with this man unknown, escape
Poisonous charms of my suitor, false promises
Sworn. “We must leave now this place,” I availed.
“Your name my friend?” “Dolyth,” he replied,
Breath moonlight-steaming, known amongst
Trading routes across Gaul, to distant to seas
Of Greece. In waist-high grass, with quick steps
Our forms darkness-blended, until camp flames
Flickering ceased. Rocky hill we descended,
Cold rapids flowing, melting runoff, age-old ice.

“Do you have faith child?” he asked, fearful
Of what lay ahead. “Yes, father,” I replied, my
Trust-response. “Cut yourself, blood soaked
On piece of clothing, leave upon this bank.”
Lo! I knew the rest. Tonight we would take to
Rapids, by cloud-concealed moonlight. “Child,
What do your dreams reveal?” Dolyth asked.
No! We leapt not into freezing streams. “Return
To glaciers of ice-father, there truth revealed.”
At first light, we heard searching calls, men
And mother followed grass-trampled trail,
Blood-soaked vest, drowning death my fate.

“Peasant Children,” Vladimir Makovsky, 1890, WikiArt

At foot of receding glacier, ancient pass once
Blocked opened to warming sun. Before us
Lay ancient paths, land-bridge leading to
Albion. Thus was last time, I saw my mother,
Indeed, by all accounts, she died by hands
Of rival clans encountered, trespassing upon
Their lands, taking game, by such missteps,
Hundred arrows loosed. All this I shared
With my grandchildren, Irish seashore home.
Listen to your heart and dreams, for dead visit
In sleep, guidance gifted to those who believe,
Ensured my destiny as bone-blood marrow,
As Maglanda, Ancestral Mother.

Potential for several additional parts, this poem came to (early) conclusion
as these characters appeared from aether, told their story, and disappeared.
Appearing in ~20 earlier poems, Dolius is an enduring (versus transient)
character. Here, he is Dolyth. Who does he represent, perhaps Mariya’s ghost-
visiting ice-father? “Dead-collecting wagon I rode…” not driving.
Thanks for reading.

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