THE MIGHTY IRINA ( Extract I) / Poerm by Maja Herman Sekulić

Poerm by Maja Herman Sekulić
( Extract I)
Is there a castle on a hilltop
Where peace and quiet thrive
Where I shall be greeted with joy
Where the sun gleams in the goblet
Where children play carefree?
Is there a castle on a hilltop
Where my precious
My handsome prince
The gorgeous Djuradj, my George
My betrothed
My bright and brilliant one
Will bring necklaces of pearl and gold
To adorn my wedding guests
My Greek compatriots.
Is there a castle where he
Glorious Djuradj
Despot of Serbia
Waits for me, his bride
Impatient to see
Irina from Thessaloniki?
My father told me
That my groom would be twice
My age
But handsome, learned
And wealthy
Of royal blood –
Like me
That I would go to a faraway land
To wed the Christian Prince
Of the great Kingdom of Serbia
That stretches from the Adriatic
To the mighty Danube
Rich in copper, silver, gold
And with palaces, castles, summer
From Nekudim to Budim
To this foreign land, he said
Young maiden, you shall go
To become Tsarina
To become Regina
To become the Mighty Irina!
I, the princess Kantakuzina
Byzantine, Roman, Thessalonian
Of imperial Constantinopolis
I will go North
To the River Danube
No more than a girl
I would have liked to play
In the castle with my brothers
And with bow and arrow
To ride horses
Free as the wild wind on the waves,
To bathe my body in fragrant flowers
– The only daughter, beautiful,
Schooled well from the early days
I shall bring the knowledge of
Of Antiquity
Of Levantine diplomacy
Refined manners
Rules of the Byzantine royalty
I will be my husband’s beloved bride
His equal
Pearl of his eyes
He knew, this clever, experienced
Shrewd ruler
He needed me as I am
Not brought up to be modest
Meek, illiterate
But skilled in conversation
At court, astute in intrigues
Equal to men
Knowledgeable in politics
Useful to my handsome husband
Even out of
The marriage bed.
I, the Royal Princess
Was used to luxury, abundance
To silk dresses with sewn-in rubies
And gold threads – I wore delicate
Tiaras with pearls in my black hair
Pulled back in the style of those
Ancient Greek goddesses
Mia divina Irina
My mother whispered sweetly to me
in Latin
That I, the Serbian Regina
That I would become the Mighty
Just as my father told me –
But also the Damned Yerina!
Why? I –
Who had everything
For the good of Serbia –

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