Bound to Her Father’s Spear Hurled Over the River’s Current / Legata alla lancia del padre scagliata oltre la corriente del fiume

This story is paired with Chapter XXI of Bulfinch’s Mythology. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free. 


(after Bulfinch's "Camilla")(inspirata a "Camilla" di Bulfinch)
As a little girl she tasted danger
enveloped in bark and
bound to her father’s spear
hurled over the river’s current,
surviving the rage of the woods
suckling wild mares’ milk,
learning the arts of the bow and
quiver, the javelin and the sling.

A perfect feminine body
wearing wild beasts’ skin
as masculine and swift as the
winds. A virgin (her father
had consecrated her to Diana the
day he had saved her life) she ended
up falling in love with her faithful
arms and trusty maiden followers only.

That she had to die in a battle
by Etruscan hand eventually
never sounds right. Having to
stare at her blood trail copiously
amid flowerbeds, makes one want
each time that she be spared.
Despite all the poetic touches
Bullfinch imbues Camilla’s story

with, how can anyone tolerate
a generous woman warrior to die?
Da bambina assaporò il pericolo
avvolta nella corteccia
legata alla lancia del padre
scagliata oltre la corrente del fiume,
sopravvivendo alla rabbia dei boschi,
allattata dalle cavalle selvagge,
apprendendo l’arte dell’arco e della
freccia, del giavellotto e della fionda.

Un corpo femminile perfetto
con indosso pelli di fiere selvagge
maschile e lesta come il vento.
Una vergine (sua padre l’aveva
consacrata a Diana il giorno in
cui le aveva salvato la vita) finì
con innamorarsi esclusivamente
delle proprie armi e delle fidate seguaci.

Che dovesse perire in battaglia
per mano etrusca infine
non sembra mai giusto.
Osservare i copiosi rivoli di
sangue su tappeti fioriti ci fa
desiderare che possa essere risparmiata.
Nonostante gli abbellimenti poetici
con cui Bullfinch permea la storia di Camilla

chi può tollerate la morte
di una giovane donna guerriera?

NBR4BavaphotosmallAlessandra Bava lives and works in the Eternal city. She is the author of two bilingual chapbooks Nocturne and Guerrilla Blues. Her first US published chapbook, They Talk About Death, is available from Blood Pudding Press. She is currently writing the biography of a contemporary American poet.