"Landscape with Temple Ruins," Caspar David Friedrich, 1797, Wikipedia photo.
“Landscape with Temple Ruins,” Caspar David Friedrich, 1797, Wikipedia photo.

Ancient roads to leading antique lands,
Memories of Ægean sunsets, olive groves,
And flowered meadows, glimpses of life-
Times past, temples and monuments to
Gods and heroes, familiar footsteps of
Another awakening within as I trek
Winding ways to Athens city-state.

Yes, I remember these cerulean seas and
Azure skies, merging and retreating, cloud
Drifting images, mountaintops distant,
Unchanging, certain turn of road, herma
Markers fragmented, dizzying awareness
That I had lived and died, loving daughter
And mother, amongst this Greek countryside.

Beholding ancient temple ruins, I knelt
On one knee, odd behavior to passersby,
I retied shoelaces whilst paying homage
To Pantheon gods, ages when they guided
And healed, spoke through priests and
Oracles divine, their presence now faint,
Knowing voices wind-lost.

Approaching these ruins, I recalled glorious
Days, fluted colonnades painted in pastel
Shades of blue and green, Pentelic marble
Shining gold in afternoon sun, high clouds
Billowing, reflections in fountained crystal
Pools, whether supplicant or priest, I knew
This temple, holy naos of Athena.

"A Priestess," John William Godward, 1894, Wikipedia photo.
“A Priestess,” John William Godward, 1894, Wikipedia photo.

Upon these steps, I prayed, “Athena, permit
Me to see your temple once again.” Quaking
Earth, dazzling light, pained metamorphosis,
Deific anastylosis, I stood beneath colonnades,
Amongst cloud-swept heights, black gown
Adorned, thyrsos-in-hand, I guarded sacred
Passageways, forbidding doors of bronze.

Time-suspended I shall remain, free of illness
And of pain, dread of death, I revel in Athena’s
Eternal sunlight, guiding worshippers who chose
Everlasting days at goddess’ temple steps, we
Ascended into radiance, brilliant starry nights,
Above earthly plights, our home forever
Gleaming marble white.

Written whilst listening to “The King’s Speech” by Alexandre Desplat,
motion picture soundtrack.

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