"Consulting the Oracle," John William Waterhouse, 1883, Wikipedia photo. For this poem, Ismene.
“Consulting the Oracle,” John William Waterhouse, 1883, Wikipedia photo. For this poem, Ismene.

An ancient pagan ritual cast Ismene’s soul
Into darkness, timeless frozen void, edge of
Creation, entombed in Charon’s mantle of
Primordial metallic ice. In perpetual torment,
Black chaotic liquids pouring o’er her soul,
Pantheon gods felt her desperate prayers, an
Innocent maiden’s pleadings, vestal-pure life.

His temple at Delphi defiled, Apollo beckoned
His twin sister, Artemis, huntress-protector of
Young women, to vanquish chthonic forces
Agonizing captive Ismene’s life-soul. By brutal
Bending of her bow, Artemis, smote wicked-
Ness, thunderous fire-might fierce, blood and
Bowel gushing from bestial possessive grip.

Clutching pallid Ismene to her warrior’s breast,
Artemis wrenched her from ice-stone, ascending
Divine heights, celestial light, healing balms,
Resurrection, soul-life restored, returned to
Sun-swept Ionian shores, salvation of soothing
Songs, parental pious prayers, transformation
To oracle, blessings by Apollo’s heroic hand.

Oh vaporous sight, twixt present and future,
Blesséd maiden of Delphic temple, incantations
Interpreted by holy priests, Ismene resided in
Naos sequestered walls, marbled inner chamber
Where gods bathed her soul in assuaging lamp
Of liquid light, for once cursed, Ismene shivered
In crippling cold, remnant of dimmed antiquity.

Victim of malevolent Pythria, heroine of oracular
Apollo, Ismene, endured conflicting forces of
Darkness and divine. Voices from gods, fanciful
Or frenzied, she faithfully spoke their lyrical
Words, whispered futures unfolding, sight-serving
Until in venerable age, she was Artemis-elevated
To everlasting warmth, radiant harmonies.

Of Ovid’s metamorphosing mythic verse,
Dreams upon p
ellucid seas,
Waves of poetic thought,
Timbre of boundless-cresting brine,
May inspiring 
Ægean ages continue
To s
peak thus to shipwrecked me.

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