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To Mother

I didn't recognise him at first... a ragged sailor with a tangled beard. His eyes were red as if he had seen demons. Something was hurting his mind.

They kept asking him questions. 'What happened, how many survived?' He just shook his head and wouldn't answer. Then he looked my way ... straight into my eyes. Diomedes tried to pull me away.

"Carintha," he whispered.

The face I didn't know, but that voice I would recognise anywhere. It was brother Poliphus.

"They destroyed our fleet with fire ships", he said. "We had no way home."

He collapsed at my feet. As I cradled his head he told of trying to cross the swamps ... no clean water ... disease ... the Sicilians attacking all the time. Then they saw a river. Water at last. The whole army, or what was left of it, ran for the river ... the Sicilians were waiting for them ... cut them down ... only a handful escaped .....

Poor Poliphus, he was crying when they led him away. Diomedes will look after him now. He will recover Mother. He will see you soon.

From Carintha


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