“Bedouin at an Oasis with Pyramids,” David Bates, 1902, WikiArt.

Part 2: Bronze Threshold (Last)

Except for clouds eclipsing moon, stars, no
Answer I provided or received: enlightened
Soul or child quickening within. Dawning sun,
By sandaled feet, I, Tizmay, wandered from
Oasis across wind-rippled desert dunes. “Who
Are you? Must I suffer at your hands?” shouted
I to down-peering gods. Eastern horizon aflame,
Dune-ridges I followed, each one leading deeper
Into nothingness of no return. Beating midday
Sun, “I will not die this way!” gods I touted,
Guiding me to wilderness, rocky plain where
Scorpions hid in solitude of sheltered shade.

O! Great heaven fell upon my head, horizon
Light-shimmering, tongue parched, bruised
Feet, beneath each stone I water-searched but
To no avail. Sun-scorched, brow smitten,
I cared not for myself, defiant unto death,
Until collapse, stone pillow for my head.
Overcome by dreamless sleep, mercurial
Night, death I embraced, awaking stranger
Place, known as Bronze Threshold.* “You may
Enter, you may live, you may die, your bones
Desiccated where you lie,” deific voices
Announced, to all who had fallen desert prey.

“Ruth and Naomi,” Ary Scheffer, 1856, WikiArt.

First struggled steps, restoring waters my soul
Sipped, ambrosia-tasted strength renewed, outer
Porticoes I strove, dozens followed as were told,
Entering towering gates. By goddess of memory,
Mnemosyne, single finger my forehead touched,
All I had known misty pools forgotten, greed,
Desires of flesh, transmigration of my soul.
Voices of muse divine, sacred prayerful songs
Arose, lifetime gifted, quickening in desert
Mother’s womb, I, Tizmay, had become,
Treasures longed for, rounding abdomen,
Hillside wandering prophetess newborn.

* From Hesiod’s “Theogony, Works, Days, Shield,” lines 744-749.
“There also stands the gloomy house of Night;
ghastly clouds shroud it in darkness.
Before it Atlas stands erect and on his head
and unwearying arms firmly support the broad sky,
where Night and Day cross a bronze threshold
and then come close and greet each other.”

Thanks for reading.

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