"After the Bath," William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1894, WikiArt photo.
“After the Bath,” William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1894, WikiArt photo. “Theia.”

Sunlit mountain glen, I explored in Actæon
Delight, flowered streams, warm breeze,
Dancing willows, entrancing mind and body,
Secluded woman bathing at rocks. Fearing
She was goddess, I knelt on knees, face-down,
Awaiting deific recognition, wrath, or blesséd
Pardon from inadvertent trespass.

As moments passed, I dared not look beyond
Reach of sweet petals, until before me stood
Draped ankles, sandaled feet, upon these I
Kissed, veined marbled purity transcending
Mortal flesh, goddess assuming myriad forms:
Stone, rising mist, tree-branching arms, sun-
Absorbing in safety of sylvan solitude.

Deific hands lifted me to standing, eyes of
Theia I met, O! Celestial light, azure seas
Reflecting sun and moon, all-seeing prophesy,
She touched my mind, first with zephyrous
Voice, motion of life acknowledged, trees
Swaying, invisible made manifest and wide-
Shining, then reaching by thoughts alone.

“Khlöe, what do you desire?” Theia asked.
“To know wonders of the earth,” Responded
I. Pathless skies! Theia moved her mouth to
Mine, daunting embrace of soul-filling breath,
I pulled away. Unsteady as she continued,
Breathing for us both, our minds as one so
Merged, ascending starry heights.

Above mountaintops we sailed, knowledge
Of all we surveyed, the natural world mind
Pouring, aspects of shores and seas, life
Above, below briny depths, cities lost since
Antiquity, languages spoken and written,
Music, poetry. Overwhelmed, I wrested away,
All this and more implanted in my soul.

Captivated by sun-radiant eyes, sand grains
Theia held, each blessed with creation’s spark,
Universes contained therein, thousand morrows
Through her fingers flowed. Revelations rivaling
Mortal grasp, I swooned at beauty of sunny
Flowers, at marble feet I kissed, Theia’s breath
Stirring arrow-deep within my bare breast.

"Half-Figure of a Bather," Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1807, WikiArt photo. "Khlöe."
“Half-Figure of a Bather,” Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1807, WikiArt photo. “Khlöe.”

As if shadow, I slumbered on shores of time,
Wonders of world realized, no longer was I
Myself. What would the mirror see? Maiden
Metamorphosed, mind and soul quaking,
In reflection of sylvan solitude, I paused to
Bathe, to extend my arms as sun-reaching
Tree branches, swaying in morning breeze.

An Ovidian-inspired poem of metamorphosis, this story
is variation of Actæon legend with “arrow-deep” changes
occurring with the female narrator known only as Khlöe.
Note opposing pictorial views Theia and Khlöe.
Written whilst listening to “Brain Boru,” New England
Irish Harp Orchestra.

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