Across Time Part One For Liza - Poem by Daniel Brick
Once we crossed paths in Athens.
The sun blasted the white stucco buildings
with waves of heat, ignited the Aegean Sea
to liquid fire, and we were dazzled...
You were a priestess in the Temple
to the Unknown God, and served
with the devotion of a believer who waits
centuries for the arrival of her God.
In her certainty she greets every day
as if the weight of time were as light
as the flight of doves from pillar to altar
at the shining height of day. Who was I
in those faraway days but a fool,
consumed with worldly profit and the might
of arms. I marched past the Temple
of the Unknown God, the proud head
of armored men, brandishing an ivory-hilted
iron sword I expected to ensure my worldly
glory. I left behind the Temple, shining
in yellow light, and you, enveloped in its glow.
Again, ages later, we crossed paths
in a market town of many thousands,
protected by a mighty Duke, whose armies
criss-crossed the vast surrounding plains,
running amok. They slashed through fields
and villages, pillaging, stealing, raping,
until the mighty Duke summoned them home
to their stables. He distributed the stolen
wealth among them, giving me a token of his take.
I served that wicked master with both eyes open,
I served as a scholar and a healer, practicing
the arts of peace with a war-lord. I amassed
my private treasury and lived in luxuriance.
You were there. You were a Guardian of the Shrine
of Our Lady of Peace, whose sweet visage
was reflected in being. People of the market town,
women and men and children, all lived in fear.
Every day they brought offerings to Our Lady of Peace,
and whispered as you raised their prayers of
thanksgiving, 'Is she not like a sister
to our Lady? Is she not an emissary from above
in our midst? ' Even the ragged soldiers
of the mighty Duke, drunk in daylight,
wanton at night, walked quietly past the Shrine,
even bowing their heads. And your gaze flowed
over the crowd, always searching. But I slipped
past you, in pursuit of prestige, proud of
my erudition, vain, ever vain, oblivious to your grace.
Time became heavier than I could bear.
I wandered wearily, restlessly, hopelessly
from one dark place to another dark place.
I remember a huge mountain looming
against my sight, I remember a climb
that took decades to achieve, I remember
an abyss that beckoned me, and a fall
into silence and nothingness in a second!
A long sleep must have followed, a sleep
which coerced me to abandon my glory,
my ambitions, my Self. One moment in millions
of moments, I dreamed of a flight of doves,
and I recognized your presence in it. Another
moment I dreamed Our Lady of Peace smiled
over me, and I knew you had interceded...
The rest was only a heaviness and a blankness.
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