“Surf at feet lapping, beaches beyond eye’s reach…”

Part 3: Wingéd Transformation (Last)

My soul liquefied, tomb-escaped, I, Thyia,
Ascended not to Asphodel plains, but fell
From heights to stark seashores, my body
Between ocean and firm land. Without
Frame or form, I existed months, years,
Time or place unknown. Surf at feet
Lapping, beaches beyond eye’s reach,
Points of compass lost or non-existing.
Thus was my Roman afterlife, accursed
By gods, lifeless death, deathless life,
Realm of no beginning and no ending.

Desolate strands, I walked waves’s edge
For chance encounter with my mistress,
Camilla, perhaps she searched for me.
“Hello!” I called, voice ocean-fading. Lo!
Horrid images I beheld: sunken eyes,
Marbled veins, arms and legs shriveled,
Camilla draped in tattered gown upon
Moldy couch, ravages of virulent fevers.
Thus, I plodded desolate shores no foot-
Prints left behind, distant horizon, citadel
Discerned, others like myself, soul
Fragments floating free.

Promise of wine and song, reunited with
Loved ones lost, I recalled romantic nights
With Camilla, balcony breezes, bodies oil
Scented. Yet, greetings of first few, they
Felt no tender warmth of flesh, ghostly
Shapes merging, like walking into sheer
Curtains, bumping into walls. In despair,
I turned away, lest I find Camilla, void of
Lover’s touch. Her funeral I recall, priest
Stating, “Even dead have benefit of daylight.”
Alas! In afterlife, I never slept, knew peace
Of moon, starry nights.

“Immortality,” Henri Fantin-Latour, 1889, WikiArt.

Living corpse, I walked away, across dunes,
Dark and featureless, as in life my heart was
Prayer-empty to bronze-face gods, images
At household shrines. How I perceived myself,
Hair undone, no tangible cloth round my
Limbs, bosom bare to opalescent sun, this
Place of wandering souls, where death and
Rebirth were one, life returned, beating hearts,
Quickening within mother’s womb, realm of
Slumbering growth, waters bursting forth,
First crying breaths, wingéd transformation
I long awaited, though never realized.

Beach photo was taken during winter evening at Assateague Island, Virginia,
Atlantic Ocean shore. I have walked this beautiful, oft desolate strand.
For this poem, I also referred to surreal images by Robert Watson. For more
on his paintings, see this link: https://www.artbrokerage.com/Robert-Watson

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