"Gathering Almond Blossoms," John William Waterhouse, 1916, Wikimedia photo.
“Gathering Almond Blossoms,” John William Waterhouse, 1916, Wikimedia photo.

Part 2: Moments Before Sunrise

Awake before dawn, my children sleeping,
Our world crumbling at gates, I am pillar
Of strength to my little ones, those who
Seek me for advice, bowl of grain, watered
Wine. First daunting task, one finds inner
Strength, welling forth eternal springs, my
Hope. Moments before sunrise, I pretend –
Wife’s balm, mother’s prayer – peace has
Returned like ships at sea, white wings of
Tearful release. Sun rising against darkness,
Outshining planets and stars, night retreats,
Another day begins as sleepy heads yearn
For bread and figs, I am here! Mother and
Woman of bronze and marble, unshakable
Strength, I relieve weary hearts, assume
Worries, teach duty and honour, provide
Labours only which they can bear, we are
Battalion of four against our enemies:
Wandering field beasts, broken fences,
Seeds sown, crops harvested. Evenings we
Recount our conquests and challenges, my
Heroes and heroines, each one. Secretly,
They are my strength, my joy, and my tears.
For I know they willingly join in our pageant,
As it keeps young minds, bodies occupied
Until dinner, bathed, and to sleep. Moments,
Before I light eternal flame of hope and love
For my absent husband. I pray at bedroom
Shrine, offerings made, him doing same for
Me. Quiet moments before dawn we share,
My love kneeling on sandy beaches, beyond
Arrow’s long reach, our gods protecting by
Sword and shield. Come home my love, fill
My womb with manly seed, my breasts milk-
Laden, such verses prayerfully written by
And for Women And Affairs of Greece.

Recollections of strength and duty of Greek
mother and wife during time of war, secrets
held in silence since antiquity.

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