“Classical Beauty,” John William Godward, 1892, WikiArt.

Part 1: Net-Entangled Discovery

Adolescent girl sleeping, tangle of fishing
Nets, arms, legs shawl draped, braided hair,
Shells and beads adorned, hoisted from
Ocean depths or night-beach, wandering in
Despair to our attic fishing Village, child
Unknown to fishers or to farmers. War-
Abandoned daughter, we first thought,
Mother’s grave concerns, warming sunlight
Awakened, she offered no explanation,
Save repeating single name: Alegrea.

Eyes flame-intense, name she oft repeated,
Rambling in singsong tongues foreign to
Ears of fisherfolk and merchants who plied
Cerulean seas from Cyprus ports to towering
Alexandrine lighthouse, indeed Alegrea as
We called her and surmised, washed ashore
From depths of Ægean seas, Oceanid from
Cities collapsed from earthquakes before
Time’s recorded memory. Such were fireside
Fantasies, expanding versions of this tale.

O! Clymere, whose seaside-sleeping daughter
Have you found? What glorious gift the gods
Bestowed? Offerings of honeyed bread, milk,
And fruit to this child windy Ilion surnamed,
Alegrea. Mysteries of forest-clad hills, altar
Upon mountain brow, ancient eyes, thoughts
Arising from foaming seas. Gods test mother’s
Mettle, by resolve, keep child as your own –
Or when confronted by overpowering might,
Release her to lesser deities, final verses of
This heroic hymn remain open, unpenned.

Alas! To sleep she drifted in my cottage,
Pallet in front of hearth fires, foster mother
I had become, gifted robes she kept ungird,
Her thin sea-shawl I draped across bare breasts
Olive-tanned, gold-banded arms, hair solitary
Fillet woven. Unmoving in slumbers deep,
I felt Alegrea’s soul wandered celestial realms,
Where birth and death were one. Until my
Eyes and head were sleep-heavy, I kept
Alight safety of illuminating fires.

“Autumn Vintage Festival,” Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1877, WikiArt.

As if hour-glass self-turned, midnight she
Began singing, nightingale reciting ancient
Tunes, ecstasy ‘neath firmament of stars,
Rituals to rustic gods, dancing, breeze
Movements grew to frenzied flight, sacrifice,
Skins of beasts, lost souls of warring men,
Alegrea knew not where or when she was,
Until collapsing at my bare feet, sleeping
Upon bare ground as net-entangled found,
Realized then, Alegrea was my charge.

New neoclassical series, Alegrea [Alay-Grē-ah] began as
small voice emerging from ocean depths, lost city,
undersea columns toppled. What message does she bring
to Clymere? Secrets of her shawl? Thanks for reading.

“Twenty Eighth Parallel” by Vangelis, “1492 – Conquest of Paradise” album:

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