On the East of Palatine Hill, on a hot Roman summer;
A congregation gathered at the Colosseum to the sound of Trumpets and Drummers!
A few hundred others jostled for permits at the Arch of Constantine, while a sea of delirious and exuberant souls, packed like sardines in a can; waited to catch a glimpse of their Emperor- Titus Vespasian.
To the Emperor's decree, the gates were raised, the hungry gnashing lions let loose,
who pounced upon these captive men-
Tearing apart their flesh and spilling their blood on the aranaceous ground.
These were men of No Use.
It was my First at the Arena, Aurelia was my name; joining with my brothers and our father in the travesty of 'Games' of mortal combat and venationes,
Chariot races and Executions of Condemned criminals or men defamed.
At one such time, I glanced at you-
Trotting on your dark stallion; a soldier past, you must have led a few batallions.
Now, a gallant Murmillo, ready to strike with your glistening sword and armour on one arm,
a man so brave, you swept the crowd with your beguiling charm.
Yet at this hour, as death draws near
as you wave amidst loud cheers,
Could your stout fingers have quivered?
Could your bold senses have gone numb,
Could You Too have feared?!
You gave a valiant fight till the last drop of your sweat, Seeking God's Mercy, or Eternity or Eternal Rest?
What must have gone through your noble mind, The Thoughts Unspoken...
Images of your unborn child or ;
Memories of your young wife?
To hold them one last time, you could give your thousand lives!
As you march to the Anthems, fit for kings,
What voices now with courage ring?
Bleeding for Glory or for Freedom Must?
O' Gallant one, you lay down in the dust!
A Thousand Years have passed since then
I visited the Colosseum with my family again!
The clouds above Rome gathered, and
Drizzled on my eyes...
And thoughts of 'being here Before', momentarily agonize.
Far across the blooming ground, amid the dilapidated walls and ruins- a shadow looms...
Lost Souls from the Past, meet once again and
Spirits reawaken from their tombs.
Could I ever have forgotten him, it was love at first sight? And...
Here we meet again after a 1000 lifetimes,
on this very ground, where my Knight met his plight.
Was it the autumn rain, or a drop of my tear?
Flabbergasted I stood there!
Was he a figment of my imagination or was he real?
The shadow smiled as a breeze came blowing and whispered in my ears...
" Aurelia, do not stand at my grave and cry
I have lived in you forever, I never died".
Tanaya Roy Choudhuri
31st March 2020