We fought hand-to-hand, sword and shield,
Until on ancient battlefields, only six left
Standing, until one of us shouted, “Cease
Hostilities!” Three and three on opposing
Sides, amongst scores of dead and dying,
Faced each other, breath heaving, sweat
And blood-spattered, swords neither raised
Nor ground-dropped, glaring at the other,
Mirror of myself, fighting not, in honour,
We would not surrender, only do as ordered.
Blood and bowels aground, such soldier’s
Punishment or fate, left living amongst the
Dead, whether light of sun or glint from
Bronze shield, we six were touched by solar
Rays, realization struck like smiting waves,
Eyes and mind blinded by golden flame,
Alas, perceiving souls of dead arising thick
As scudding clouds, shades of men sun-
Darkening, weeping widows, childless fathers,
To what end, decades of warring wrath?
More courageous than war-waging, to drop
Sword, to grasp hands and wrist, to see myself
Through enemies eyes, six brothers, same
Love of country, timé, accreté, kleos,* yet these
Were not felt or found, such ignoble ironies.
Land, riches, different gods, to sail thousand
Ships by command of men we knew not. Lo!
On this day, human life wasted at our feet,
Carrion birds and flesh-defiling dogs, six as
One, proclaimed, “No more!”
From this insanity we walked away, brothers
Six blessed by deific light, at stone altar we
Gave ourselves to divine, on bended knee
Pledged consecration to greater good, vows
And hopes, trembling metamorphosis from
Soldier to prophet, healer, seer, each blessed
Same yet differently, divergent paths we took:
Seas, mountains, distant plains, we knew not
Our destination, only that six servants were
Swept asunder by immortal destiny.
Blesséd or accursed, closest to blinding light,
First was I to drop sword to ground, instead
Wielding inking pen on papyri, writing poetry
And prose, verses and stanza wrenched from
Heart and bone, pained joys of rhyme and
Meter, given to words outpouring, unable to
Swim ashore, marooned upon Ægean isles,
My course not god-reversed, for I have seen,
Known doubled glories of my five brothers,
Sagas and sea-stories, all deific flame-inspired.
* Honour, Greatness, Fame
An Ovid-inspired poem of personal metamorphosis,
I have attempted to follow the footsteps Ovid and
Homer and to develop my own neoclassical voice.
Personal milestone, 700 poems in ~860 days, I am
taking much-needed break and will be leaving for
some interval. The when is now, and few tweeted
photos will generally show where. As always,
thank-you for reading.