"Aphrodite of Knidos" by Praxiteles of Athens, 4th century BC, Wikimedia photo.
“Aphrodite of Knidos” by Praxiteles of Athens, 4th century BC, Wikimedia photo.

As obedient supplicants, we bathed in clear
Streams beside Aphrodite’s columned temple,
Myrtle adorned, sacred to the goddess, we
Worshipped in evening light, secluded safety
Of verdant ancient forests, heaven-reaching
To divine radiance, purifying lustrations for
Fertility, ceremonial servants we became.

Within shimmering pools, we were purified
By votive offerings and by prayer, for godly
Virtuous women, those childbearing and
Delivering, by Aphrodite’s deific blessings,
We sought health and longevity for families
And ourselves, whilst washing feet of the
Goddess’ statue, miracles of faith occurred.

O! When do marble statues become divine,
When first carved by sculptor’s caring hands?
Does god or goddess grace their presence
When placed upon temple pedestal? Lighted
Life gleaming from Aphrodite’s statue, her
Right hand in protective modesty, preparing
For ceremonial bath, drape fallen to her side.

“Bathing at the Brook,” Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, 1848, WikiArt.

In mirrored humility, we beheld translucent
Parian marble transform pale white to living
Flesh, Aphrodite stood amongst us, blinding
Mortal sight. Yet, she required our dutiful
Attendance to restore her mortal form, rinsing
Her face and lips with holy water, to breathe
Anew, how free Kindos mountain air!

We six who observed divination of Aphrodite’s
Statue became priestesses of her cypress-em-
Bowered temple, greeting pilgrims from Ægean
Sea voyages to distant Asia Minor, serving
Goddess and mortals, guidance for lustrations,
To bathe in evening light where we witnessed
Living metamorphosis of Knidos Aphrodite.

Note the mirrored modesty of the Women of the Brook and 
that of Aphrodite of Knidos, her statue restored from damage.
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