“Apricots,” Albert Joseph Moore, 1866, WikiArt.

Part 3: Virtues of Sea-Life

Hillsides twilight-gleaming, shimmering
Sofia by my side, flowering orchards, wind-
Waving wheat, as much real as dreamt, she
Stated, “Creation place, we must return,
Day’s reach, sacred Apennine heights.”
Weeks from Etruscan homelands, Abdera
Foothills, Nestor River footpath we strove,
Arduous journey, mountain trading routes
Lay ahead, guide we lacked, sleeping upon
Hard ground, lands hostile and foreboding.

Sofia’s pallid face, conclusions drawn,
Virtues conceived, together cloud-born,
Now Thrace marooned, struggled fates.
By Sofia’s breathing-flame embrace, what
Courage, wisdom, justice mustered when
Virtues four were inexplicably enchained
To me? Marble column resurrection they
Desired, live, breathe again. Thus, we
Journeyed to Etruscan home headlands,
Not by land but by sailing merchant ship.

Virtues of sea-life Sofia learnt, cresting
Brine, swelling sails, hard discipline boys,
Men found thereon, storming cruelness,
Ocean unleashed, vast stretches becalmed
To windless lakes, cloudless, rainless, no
Fresh water for parchéd tongues, backs
Broken by oaken oars. Æneian maternal
Shores, virtues realized why sailors sought
Earthly vices: wine, ate their fill, lure of
Perfumed women, lying naked-bare.

Does Part 4 await on ocean horizons, perhaps on Tyrrhenian Seas?
Thanks for reading. 

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