"Soul Carried to Heaven," William-Adolphe Bouguereau, circa 1878, WikiArt photo.
“Soul Carried to Heaven,” William-Adolphe Bouguereau, circa 1878, WikiArt photo.

Part 4: Death-Lost Family

Decades of unrelenting war, children born
And raised never knowing peace, cycle
Continued, our men killed, adolescent sons
Sent to war, weddings of duty, older men
To teen daughters, impregnated so Greek
Families persevere. Such heartfelt woes
To account, words heavy upon my soul.
Months of eternal rain down-pouring, in
Darkness, I know not love nor joy. What
Began as charity led to death, mercies to
Young mother half my age, her son she led
Through fields and forests to glow of our
Windows. Large with child, she collapsed,
Pain deep within, blood between her legs.
Panicked eyes, she grabbed my wrist, “Get
It out!” she cried. My husband’s dagger I
Drew. “Yes! Now!” Into hearth coals I shoved
Sharp blade, my oldest Daughter I called.
“Gather bed linens and clothes.” She did as
Told. Cutting blade across abdomen, fetid
Blood gushed free, my daughter fainting at
Such sights. Emerging forth, infant struggled
For breath, cord twisted around its neck,
Blue turning grey. Bed-soaked congealing
Clots, young mother stared at me, then to
Open door, fixing her eyes to mine. “Your
Husband says he loves you, and bids you
Farewell.” By these horrific words, she
Breathed her last. “Call for help!” I cried,
My son clanging brass alarm. Neighbors
Came by lantern light, several then six or
Eight. By then, it was too late. Hysterical
Son just orphaned, his family death-lost.
My husband likely dead, verses recorded in
Spilled lifeblood, Women and Affairs of Greece.

Account of Greek mother’s life, love, and death,
papyri found buried in earthen urns, fragments
brittle, deciphered Doric poetic prose. One more
Papyri to relate, then this drama will be closed.

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