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Odyssey from Africa 14c

Chapter 14c

Warriors of mighty stature
Armed with blades of shining metal
Fire-wrought bronze, a work of wonder,
Walked beside a bright-robed figure

Slight of build and short in stature 
Whitening hair around his temples 
Now the warriors introduced him
As “King Ptolemy the Second”
Piercing eyes alive with wisdom
Held Han’s gaze for several moments 
“Welcome, fisherman and traveler,
Welcome to our Island Kingdom!”
Han then bowed before the monarch 
Speaking thanks for all the kindness 
Given unto all his family 
But King Ptolemy now checked him;
“There’s no need to be so formal!
We must turn to urgent business.
First however – are you hungry?
Please partake of these refreshments”

Han now noticed that the monarch 
Had one most distinctive feature 
Half of his right arm was missing!
Ending just below the elbow 
Later Kwona would discover 
Talking to the household servants 
That this injury had happened 
In his childhood as a princeling
When a palace insurrection
Had betrayed and killed his father
Whom he raised his hand defending 
From the traitor’s wicked sword stroke
“Why should we be indoors lunching 
In such sunny pleasant weather?”
Said the king, who asked his servants 
That they take the table outside 

So they dined out in the sunshine 
Where a barbecue was burning 
Cooking steaks of goat and wildfowl.
Jars of glass were now brought to them
Filled with clear fermented liquor 
Golden and intoxicating
That to drink was cool and pleasant 
It was called the “amber nectar”

Han attempted to be cautious 
Drinking but a single vessel
But the king’s benign persuasion 
Led to several further glasses 
Being merrily upended
By both fisherman and monarch 
Then the king became more lively
Turned and looked at Han intently

“Let us talk about the ocean
Of its storms, its tides and currents
Of the clouds, the winds and weather
And the hunting of the fish shoals

“Where they hide in blue-green ocean 
Where to find the scuttling lobsters 
How the waxing and the waning
Of the moon entrains the creatures 
“Of the sea and of the coastline
In the rhythms of their movement 
And the times of their abundance 
When the crabs come to the rock pools
“When trevally shoal at nighttime 
When the rocks encrust with shellfish 
When the yellowtail and snapper
Gather in the tidal shallows

Copyright © | Year Posted 2018

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