by August Lysy
What faith found Aeneas
in the vanquished gods
to lay down his hard-won wisdom,
and bow again on bended knee
to worship those whose silence reigned at Troy?
What hope shaded Aeneas
but that those gods would stir again,
and storm his hollowed temple
with the holy burning fervor
that founded ages younger in maturity?
What cries raised Aeneas,
arrested in untaught terror,
seized in the bliss of slaughtered years,
as Fate rushed the unarmed gate
of his childhood city afire?
What sorrow flooded Aeneas
when he his young love abandoned,
and, while old age rode his shoulders,
clasped he in one hand hope, the other, faith,
and hid in tears his face away?
What doubt harrowed Aeneas
as erected he his clay-formed memories
upon the barren altar of his mind,
and sacrificed his pride for the honor
of the gods who failed?
What truth heard Aeneas,
when he, with drooping head,
wrung his idols’ praises from his tongue,
and stooped, again, to worship in spirit
what failed his heart to worship in truth?
What faith, O holy faith!
who, through tremor and tears –
who, through darkest sorrows and blindest doubt –
who, with hope against hope in loveless despair –
who can be true to you ‘til death?