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Oh, Sparta -- If Only You Could Have Known

"Hear your fate, O high-dwellers of the airy, wide open            
Spaces and fertile plain, your rugged and enclosed                
Lands, Sparta, untouched by that of hard-grinding war".          
Thus, the fraught Oracle of Delphi had so spoken.              
Now only I alone am left to ponder on all that was before...             
And, which, wrongly, ignorant peoples should all suppose.         

But Sparta should lose in victory -- whilst noble Athens                  
Would become more wondrous than any could ever                   
Have imagined! And although I am of Sparta...I think of her             
As home. For I have hunted in the sprawling woodlands             
Of Phelloe, dallied with the plodding tortoise in coy Arcadia;            
Alalcomenae's giant oaks offering shelter from inclement weather. 

I gave up tears when listening to ancient, groaning pines         
On the sandy coast of Elis, marveled at white Blackbirds        
In Cyllene. Ate the dates of Aulis, tasted olive oils                                                                     
From Tithorea; when sat at the table of the Gods dined                                                             
Upon wild strawberries from Helicon! The flashing roils         
Of Saronic dolphins. The Six Caverns that none dares disturb!     

Alas, in my distress I am more troubled than Menelaus;                   
And have known a hundred-fold more greater a jealous pride...            
All his murderous heartaches. Same, sudden, gut-wrenching blow    
At first encounter; this which serves no man any good cause...    
Apart to live in melancholy. Skin as perfect as untouched snow.   
A wilful deceit that can hide behind an unemotive woman's eyes.  

Forgive me, Pausanias -- there is beautiful poetry in your words my friend!!           


Copyright © john fleming | Year Posted 2019


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  1. Date: 9/27/2019 5:04:00 PM

    Enchanting poetry !! Wow !! You have taken me for a beautiful ride !! Thank you :)
  1. Date: 8/21/2019 10:04:00 AM

    You write like royalty! Well done.
  1. Date: 7/5/2019 7:19:00 PM

    Exceptionally told story Fleming. LOVE IT. Have read quite a few of your poems now, I like the ones that are more current time related, i.e. "An Involuntary Shudder", "I Saw You Again Yesterday", "When Caught in the Wreck of Her Gaze", You, my good sire, if not published mainstream, should be. But I'm no expert. Your poetry is kind of addictive to read....over, again and again.
  1. Date: 6/5/2019 3:58:00 AM

    Oh John I love this so much! You take me to a day I too wrote of one from Sparta! Lol I have grown to love her so! She reminds me of myself! But enough about me! Wow is all I can think of John ! You truly amaze me more each day!;)
  1. Date: 4/3/2019 9:49:00 PM

    I adore the way you take me to another time and place in this enchanting piece John. Your poetry brightens day! Easter blessings, Connie : ) xxoo