The mirror and the cross, together, embodied and one,
living in glimpses of otherworldly beauty:
As a poet said, a maiden’s death is the sweetest.
But what of her birth, and what of his death?
Like a shadow more intriguing than its pillar,
I am colored by some boon, filled, lighted!
My likeness, a mere web, lingers in their thoughts,
while my breath, sounds swept up in the winds,
dances off my breast and into their hearts.
For all look into the other, but could it be conceit,
we ask our hero at Phrygia, before arrow-felled,
if his truth is simply more than most can bear?
Your name and person were adored, then rejected,
your wit and daring, mercurial, handsome, rich.
What is the real story to giving ourselves?
Each time needs a different turn,
a new step for its own age.
In your life, long past, the seas gave obeisance
to your command, and the bronze rim over your brow
proudly caught the evening sunlight
while long oars cut the waves beneath your ships.
Labor is devotion, Alcibiades: your companions
loved to give their fates to
such bright confidence that you exude.
Or would you just be held,
and let war stay oblivion, leagues away,
if only your gentleness had been won,
and guardian Athena had not been beaten,
and spared from the flame by fickle mercy.
“Not again,” is that what I should think?
For other powers scatter their nets,
the cloth is woven–but would it be conceit–
to be the most vulnerable as a price for
seeking human trust?
“Great love and great disappointment,” remarks one author
of a young St. Francis of Assisi’s
So for all things, a season,
and for every time, a face,
and we are little more than castaways
on a mythic expedition.
And burning fiercely in the memories
of those who trust us, we remain,
rejoicing, just the way we lived.
(c) 2016 Emma Gabriel