Immersed in brine and cloud-light, I alone
Ventured upon a desolate windswept strand,
Edge of surf and land, pristine and vulnerable,
Grassy dunes over-washed by storms, shore-
Ward flow of tides, rivulet patterns eroding
Sand, outcropping of veined stone I realized,
Marble steps ascending into sunlight, clouds
Scudding, sunlit and mottled-grey.
Taking these time-worn steps, my vision lofted
To higher planes, soul rising above mundane,
Amongst verdant hills present faded, eternal
Ocean-flow of ages, beyond my mortal grasp.
Yet, I climbed thousand sunrises, passing dusk
To dawn, pallid moon, affirmation of celestial
Light, whether Mount Olympus or Olives, no
Beneath me, ocean strands and lower terraces
Were cloud-lost, replaced by columned pro-
Menades, where faithful took to steps of
Gleaming stone. By godly love, pain and
Infirmity were allayed. With tentative heart,
I approached temple entrance guarded as in
Ancient days, most holy of divine realms, high
Deities that humbled fates and demigods alike.
By blazing silver fire, mist of boiling clouds,
Balms and oil, my body and soul were purified,
To approach inner temple, ecstasy-coupled
Fright, I felt presence in temple naos. O! Flood
Of tears and anguished soul, I felt caring hands
Upon my face, consciousness peering deep
Within my bones, incantations recited, words
Mind-piercing, transcending life and death.
“I count the grains of sand on the beach and
Measure the sea, ebb and flow of tides, sea-
Ward breezes that brought you here to us,”
Godly voices said therein. “Come forth and
Witness events past hope or credence, see
Those things that shall be.”* On bended knee,
I peered into light, hair and face burnished
Bright, woman metamorphosed I became.
Texts of brittle papyri were entrusted to memory,
Histories and antiquities, cities founded and
Destroyed, words of Homer and Ovid, burned
Into my heart like brand-irons thrust in glowing
Coals, tableted thoughts once concealed, mighty
Ships of sail, voyages and wars, passions stirred
To lust and unmerciful wrath, battles won and
Lost as blesséd gods decreed.
From these mortal woes I swooned, toppling
Off marble steps, cloud descending, waking
Alone on desolate beach, my breasts unclad
And burned by knowing light, divine faces,
Gods by name I knew not, blessing or curse,
I am shackled to ancient verse, only by writing
Do I cure my dread, weathered features and
Unkempt hair, poetically I give myself to thee.
* Delphi oracular statement admixed with verses from “The Iliad” of Homer.