Anabasis - How Far Would You Go to Find the Woman You Love?

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The lamp illuminated the wall
The writing old, like the scars on my heart
Ancient and sterile and incredibly rich
Hidden for millenia
"I've been like that too." My thoughts came, unbidden
"How did I find you? You shouldn't even be here."
It was like that sometimes
Years of excavations, a mountain of permits
And then this
Totally unexpected
Like the letter from Ishtar
A cave-in, all lost
And then so was I
Caved in, lost. Sorrow and rage
Years went by, lost in the digs
Searching for a way to plug the hole
Let in the light
And now this
A warning to those who enter it said
Amazing how quickly I deciphered the ancient tongue
My heart starting the familiar pounding I had thought lost
Death will be swift, flee now while there is time
Turn back, only blackness awaits

I thought that once when I first saw her
Daughter of my mentor
A vision in a pith helmet
Nineteen and the head of her class
Already published, already off limits
Flee now while there is time
I didn't then and I wasn't about to now
I lifted the lamp to the right and saw the lion
Stone lions were common as guardians
This one was sleeping
Strange, the guardian to a tomb carved sleeping
Only someone very confident would do this
"What am I getting myself into?"
She smiled so prettily then
My reputation preceded me
My papers on the afterlife and archaeology
The bridge of time and ancient enchantments
She was fascinated
I hadn't seen the sleeping lion
We fell madly, passionately in love
Turn back, only blackness awaits
Then suddenly she was gone
A note in my tent--"I'm sorry."
He took her continents away
Beyond the lion was the door
Metal, aged bronze with a flower in relief
Who was this, guarded by a sleeping lion and a flower?
Aleksandra thought I was right
Most of my colleages disagreed
Leave these theories to poets and playwrights they said
The most kings and pharohs could hope for is mummification
A cycle in time? Get back to your digging
You are good at that
She didn't laugh
Her letters said she found something in Portugal
In the Gulbenkian Museum
Writing on an urn and a clue to a dig
I sat the lamp down and looked at the door
No handle, no way to pull
I pushed
Nothing
I held the lamp and looked closer at the flower
My breathing stopped
The flower never grew on this continent
Only in one continent and in only one place
Where I gave one to her
I sat down heavily on the floor
Ancient dust whooshing into the air
Did I really believe what I had so glibly written?
Was there a connection from death to life?
My heart had been dead
Was it beginning to stir?
I pulled out the coin she had given me
The image of Alexander and Buchephalus
She said the gold coin was priceless
The only one in private hands
Presented in Rome at the Games
You could live on this the rest of your life she said
She didn't know that I was
Not the way she meant
I looked at the lion on the coin
At the medallion on the sleeping lion at my feet
They were the same
I cleaned it out and placed the coin over the lion's in the recessed slot
I told myself I would never part with that coin
My connection with her
The coin and lion dropped out of sight
Exposing stairs into the dark
Did I really believe
Could she, could my heart live again?
I took the stairs
My heart in my hand

©Winsome Publishing 2011, All rights reserved

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Comments 32 comments

Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 5 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

What a wonderful journey, that age old dilemma, made fresh again by this. I've certainly felt this before. That pounding of the heart, at that moment, so familiar to me too.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Wow, this is so special. Beautiful writing.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Frieda, so glad you enjoyed the journey. You inspired me, thank you. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Becky, nice of you to say so. It was fun to write. =:)


Phoebe Pike 5 years ago

Beautifully written.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Phoebe, thank you--I think no matter how hard we dig into the past, we're still looking for love. Anabasis means to travel from the coast to the interior or in this case into the heart. =:)


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

wow, really enjoyed thus, Great talent! up and shared


nenytridiana profile image

nenytridiana 5 years ago from Probolinggo - Jawa Timur - Indonesia

Anabasis... wow! I have to learn about it. This is beautiful winsome! I enjoyed reading this. Thank you!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi PD, thank you for that--I've read a few of yours and like them very much. Writing is rewarding on its own but even more so when it is appreciated by those who are seriously studying the craft. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hello NT, it is a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for the kind words--it might be interesting for you to read Xenophon's Anabasis. It is online. Mine is more fanciful, but a journey, none-the-less. =:)


september girl 5 years ago

Very cool poem, so intriguing and yet one of wonder. An archeological dig and a pretty girl for you to find and then sought after. : ) Felt like I was living in your dream, in the midst of the sleeping lion.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi SG, that is what I was going for--when you write in a dream state, more things, both historical and fanciful, are connected than logic could ever explain.

Thank you for the kind words and you are a welcome guest in my literary dreams always--better bring a pith helmet just in case. =:)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Simply amazing on so many levels. Beautiful, lyrical, poignant....a very, very well-crafted poem. Impressive.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

What lovely approbation Theresa, I'm so glad you liked it. We all need a literary escape like this from time to time. I can feel the sleeping lion inside wanting to come out more and more and gracious artists like you help to make it happen. Thank you. =:)


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

Winsome, I agree. It's nice to share, be shared, too appreciate and appreciate


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 5 years ago from Tampa Bay

You really know how to compose an intriguing read. It would be interesting to hear your inspiration on this poem. I love the places you take us to in your writing. Beautiful!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Rebekah, I wish I could tell you. I reread it trying to remember how it came and I honestly have to say I started writing and it just unfolded exactly as you see it.

There are connections to so many places I know nothing about that I must have had help. I was thinking about The Raven and wondered what caused Poe to create such a poem and my fingers just started typing. I don't believe in channeling but I do believe we tune in to a wave length of creativity when we experience a song or a poem or prose of a singularly gifted individual.

Anyway, thank you for enjoying the tour. Here at Winsome Travel we always promise to take you somewhere you have never been. =:)


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

isn't it fun, winsome, to write something grand and then realize you have no idea where it came from and, even more so, to realize if u'd written it even a minute earlier or later, it would have been totally different?


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 5 years ago from Tampa Bay

It's not coincidental that you mentioned the wave length. I do believe it happens. Yesterday I was thinking about a topic I want to write about after reading a few pages about the 'flow' and what it means, or what it may mean. There is a flow to all life and it is accessible. You were in the flow while writing this. It's so beautiful, and perfect. The Raven is probably my most favorite poem. It introduced me to the mystery of poetry. One day left to enter more of your work for the writing contest. Again, very well done. Thanks for sharing with us!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi PD, yes you are right it is fun and intriguing to think of the parallel universes that could be forming with every different act. Lucky for us we only have to deal with the one we're in. Thank you for the thoughtful comment. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Rebekah, you are welcome and thank you for the encouragement. I didn't know the event was ending so soon, I'll have to see if I can jump back into the flow. =:)


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

what makes you so sure we only have this one to deal with?


Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Ha ha, because I only have enough energy for one. If we do, though, I want Olivia Dunham to help me with it. =:)


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

I'm not sure who that is


Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Sorry, I'm a Fringe addict. =:)


Ana Louis profile image

Ana Louis 4 years ago from Louisiana

From one Fringe addict to another this was beautiful...ethereal, a mysterious journey woven within the fabric of time. The stuff that expands the imagination and seeds our dreams.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you Ana, I hope to read soon the result of the imagination and dreams this provoked in you. =:)


Ana Louis profile image

Ana Louis 4 years ago from Louisiana

Maybe I will surprise you in a few days. First my husband and I have to drive to Baton Rouge to help our son and his family move. And it is supposed to rain. It's gonna be a fun week-end. Seriously.:)


klarawieck 4 years ago

The sleeping lion has me scratching my head, Winsome. My birth sign is Leo and at the time I was born the ruling ascendant was Leo. So I'm a double Leo, therefore I have two sets of claws per paw. Ouch! I don't get nearly as much sleep as I should... everyone knows that! And every once in a while I roar at the dearest of friends. Hmmm... :-(

This is a beautiful poem that has an imagery that takes me to a very unusual and intriguing place. Music and words create imagery. Sometimes a piece of music triggers a story in my head, sometimes, a story triggers a piece of music. Isn't that something? :D

You have a beautiful soul, Winsome. I'm glad I met you.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

And I can't wait to hear the music this poem inspires in you. I think people are connected in ways only a few can see. When we are being the most creative we are often drawing from sources with which we are deeply connected but have yet to meet. I think this poem and your music is an example.

Thank you for reading this and for your kind words. =:)


Moms-Secret profile image

Moms-Secret 4 years ago from Central Florida

Very interesting read. Thank you for recommending it. It went very well with the morning breeze and my cup of fancy joe. Intriguing love stories for breakfast, yum!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

She had no choice but to accept his offer of a ride. The wind was nearing typhoon stage and only clinging to the lamp pole kept her from being swept away. He looked dangerous, but his manner was kind. He put her bicycle in the large trunk and opened the passenger door for her. When they were safely inside, she gasped, it was a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. She had read just yesterday it could reach 60 in a couple of seconds and cost almost two and a half million. She tried in vain to do something with her sopping, tangled hair and gratefully accepted his handkerchief. The monogram was FJ. "Who are you? She asked. "Just someone lucky enough to be exploring this part of the Keys." He replied. "My friends call me 'Fancy Joe.'" He said with a wink.

Ha ha, sorry, I couldn't resist. Thanks for coming by M, I'm glad you enjoyed it. =: )

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