“Venus Appearing to Æneas as a Huntress,” Pietro da Cortona, 1631, WikiArt photo.
“Venus Appearing to Æneas as a Huntress,” Pietro da Cortona, 1631, WikiArt photo.

Dreams in light-ascending peace, floating
Amongst ocean clouds, I am neither dead
Nor alive in body, yet death brings life
Into perspective, choices made, deeds not
Committed but undone bring greatest
Pain, requiring self-forgiveness. In deific
Light, my soul reckons with regrets.

Decades drifting, my remains, desiccated
Regal bones, are shroud-draped, crypt-
Sealed lost to maze of memories. Aside
From grave gifts, no different than slaves
Or servant girls, death is an equalizer in
knowing eyes of blesséd gods, for those
Rich in life, hapless in heart and soul.

Victories I recall from embattled steeps,
Thousand deaths by my order, soldiers
Of loyal legions, ranks of enemies, feared
Not death but plighted peace, when war
Is oft distant yet foreseen. Love long
Endures blood-soaked sands, as do battle
Glories, spirits and swords raised high.

In retrospect, life is perplexing maze,
Reckoning with will of men and immortal
Gods, recalling duties sworn and fulfilled,
Soft-oiled pleasures after battles, torch-lit
Pungent moments of wine and flesh, when
Bronze armor and sharp-plunging sword
Yielded to delights of perfumed arms.

By these lofty heights, time self-incises
Life chapters, beyond battlefields and
Foreign lands, to private tragedies striking
With equal aim of wingéd arrows or flying
Lance. O! Double-edged demands of duty,
To slighted family, heroic creation of my
Children, forced absence of their birth.

"Aeneas Flees Burning Troy," Federico Barocci, 1598, Wikipedia photo.
“Aeneas Flees Burning Troy,” Federico Barocci, 1598, Wikipedia photo.

Tapestry of memories, maze of decisions,
Personal and political, many regretted as
Made. In my lifetime next, I will not soldier
Or ruler be, but attentive husband and
Father who tends family as shepherd to
His sheep, life amongst green pastures,
Adoring my children, their sweet songs.

“Maiden of bronze I am and sit upon the tomb of Midas.
water flows, and tall trees put forth leaves, and
rivers swell, and
the sea breaks on the shore; while
the sun rises and shines and
bright moon also, ever
remaining on this mournful tomb 
I tell the passer-by
that Midas here lies buried.”  — Homer

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