Illustrated by Minji Reem
The feel of certainty restored,
By solid ground beneath our legs,
We soon forgot the seas that roared,
That tossed us ’round like wine cask dregs.
Instead we cast our sights ahead,
Upon the flame-wrought city’s folk,
Who long had been our friends, ’twas said,
Whose welcomes now appeared to choke.
Some distance on, a villa stands,
The walls besmirched with filthy soot,
For through the town thick smoke commands,
And stamps on marble white its foot.
But from within this villa old,
One hears two voices talking deep,
In likeness of their owners bold,
Between them fervent words they keep.
Across from Damos, Tavras sits,
The lord of Crete and head supreme,
And shifting in the hearth his spits,
He tells of the Venetians’ scheme.
“For many years they let us be,
As we upheld the Cretan way,
All entrance to our docks was free,
To all who pleased, both night and day.
“As friend to all, my Crete was known,
For merchants came, and pirates, too,
And through their trade our wealth had grown,
Despite all tax from Venice new.
My city, Chandia, grew fast,
A fledgling seaport for all trades,
But when it Venice near surpassed,
They thought it time to draw their blades.
“Thus, just last night they quick appeared,
Their fiery cannons lit the skies,
Hell rained upon my isle revered,
And brought us Cretans our demise.
They warned us to reject our friends–
Reject all pirates–folk like yours,
With Venice to restore amends,
And to all others, shut our doors.”
But scorn now tints his face in red,
As Tavras bellows to his friend,
“We, Cretans, sooner would be dead,
Than cowards who their kin offend!
Mark every word I say to you,
For, Damos, Crete now is reborn,
It will, without a master new,
Against its foes exact its scorn!
“So, Captain, I propose to you,
Though men I know you have but twelve,
A pact between our causes two,
To aid ourselves ahead to delve.
Use food and beds here as you please,
And count our Cretan homes likes yours,
Wage war with us upon the seas,
With stolen goods refill our stores!”