"Grape Harvest," Joaquin Sorolla, 1896, WikiArt photo.
“Grape Harvest,” Joaquin Sorolla, 1896, WikiArt photo.

Part 1: Reconsidered Moments

Life-forces since antiquity, compelling seas,
Never-ceasing ebb and flow of tides, rivers
Curving into shore. By favouring winds,
Ships set off, fight in foreign lands, sails
And hopes raised high, to disappear on
Horizon’s cresting edge, women, families,
Boys and men too feeble to fight, assume
Labours of farming, field tending. Once
Beauty of olive groves and wind-moving
Wheat become heavy burdens. Into fields
We worked, naked bodies under beating
Sun, toil of plow and scythe, weeks folding
Into months, word of refusing peace, weary
Of sea-fights, I look into my children’s eyes,
What consoling words can I offer? That
Their father’s blood and bone are not worth
Truce or peace? On lonely walks, I curse
Gods, blasphemy of my heart, opposing
Forces praying to same deities, both sides
Vying to win, men killing another husband-
Father who hails from foreign lands, families
Like ours, women, daughters, sisters living
In twin turmoil, differing languages, faces
Marked by grief, worry, days of sun, known
Without words. How long we burn flickering
Candlelight? This woman I know not, who
Keeps single flame lit for her man as I. Yes,
She is my sister, marvels of sea and land,
Customs of Athens and Rhodes, walls built,
Long and tall from Athens to sea, repelling
Our enemies, denying peace, reconsidered
Moments, saving precious treasure, war-torn
Families. Children at my side, such duties
Mother-denied, inked verses written on
Heart’s papyri, Women and Affairs of Greece.

Wife and mother’s thoughts, tears, and prayers offered in silent
obedience whilst Xenephon scribed, an equal voice, nonetheless,
rekindled from ancient past. http://www.iep.utm.edu/xenophon/

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