Sunday, February 13, 2011

A thousand years


When the sculptor finished me
the last scalloping of my gown
chiseled into place
he smiled
wept a little
for having to sell me
to a rich patron.

Then
when the rich man
died
I was taken
to the port of Caesarea
They stood me
on the pier
to watch the ships coming in.

I could feel the salty wind 
and the sea spray
as Phoenician traders
sailed into port
haggling from the marketplace
was my constant companion
and the cry of the gulls
my lullaby.

It was not for long
for a colossal wave
swept down on the harbor
burying the wharf
the ships
and me
in its impersonal ferocity.

I don't remember much after that
I slept
anchored in the cliff
beneath a slab of granite
I slumbered
through many long lives of men
a thousand years
or maybe a thousand years more.

I heard
the battles of the Crusades
the fearful clash
of Saladin and Lionheart
as in a dream
and thought the fishes below
were fighting
history marched on
and I slept.

Then
a terrible grinding
a wet crash
and the gritty noise of rocks sliding
I fell
from the earth's warm embrace
into the chilly seawater
and awoke.

Humans hauled me from the wreckage
of the shattered cliff
and exclaimed over my age
They call me
'the lady from the sea.'
maybe they should call me
'the lady who slept'
for this is a strange new world
much different from the one I left.

Expert humans
examine me
My head and hands
are gone now
the price of my thousand years
They try to figure out
what they once looked like
and wonder what my story is...
but that will be
forever
my secret.

Note: This poem is based on a true story- that of a Roman statue discovered off the coast of Israel last December when a cliff collapsed. Here's the original article.


4 comments:

  1. Yes, it will forever be a secret.
    Nice write Abigail.

    Pamela

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is awe inspiring to look at this statue and consider ourselves and our place in time. We experience just the merest fragment of it in our lives. Great poem.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What imagination and flair to give us the story from inside the statue..did you find the picture first? Or did the idea come before? Very well written and the last line is touching..Jae

    ReplyDelete
  4. A lovely glide through a touch of romantic history. Beautifully done.

    ReplyDelete