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Many blessings on Kassia: a bold and beautiful Byzantine poet

Intelligent, perceptive, creative:

And wise, so-wise with beautiful clear, blue eyes.

For, as you make clear in your verse, the false lust of adultery is a sin of man

Devised to ruin the goodness of woman

And it is a temptation that must accept the full springs of tears,

As you who bring the rain to wash us clean and fresh

Bow down to the sighs of my fluttered heart.

You altered our realm of being by your incomprehensible incarnation

And now the followers of a desert-seer dismiss your revelation

As less than nothing and want to kill all of those who proclaim you

As the risen Christ. Your wisdom sits plainly amongst the whores and robbers

Of port cities. Your beauty is a sunset reflected in the tired eyes

Of lovers who will not sell their soul no matter what the price.

I kiss your feet as if they were the feet of Eve last heard in Paradise

Your few devotees left here in what was Byzantium hide themselves away in fear

Of their sons being taken for Jannisaries.

Who can count the depth of your mercy or the height of the wisdom

Displayed in your judgement of tone and word

In your poetry. Only you, Kassia, only you, dearest heart. 


◄ The kalash

Soldier of fortune ►


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John Marks

Sun 10th Mar 2019 20:14

Thank you, as ever, Keith. I suppose my defence of Kassia is that if you believe, as I do, that purity of heart (and soul) is not incompatible with either taking a lover nor breaking vows made to men, not God, then Kassia's sincerity remains inviolate. John

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keith jeffries

Sun 10th Mar 2019 18:06


This poem paints a picture of Cassia the abbess as being someone of exceptional beauty and purity; her beauty is well recorded, her piety found in her becoming an abbess but what of the many relationships she had with men which have no explanation attached to them, yet suggest infidelty to her vows?

Well composed as a fitting tribute to one who contributed to the Empire and Church of the Day.

Thank you for this


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