"Priestess of Delphi," John Collier, 1891, Wikimedia photo.
“Priestess of Delphi,” John Collier, 1891, Wikimedia photo.

Before morning light, Bezas of Megra, began
Pilgrimage to Apollo’s Delphic Oracle, on
Foot and by oxen-cart the faithful trekked,
Offering prayers and hymns of praise, whilst
Bezas took to pensive thoughts, across Attic
Highlands to sanctity of summer Ægean Seas
And waiting two-masted sailing ships.

On open-ocean they sailed north, pilgrims
Continued prayerful hymns, ships heeling
In cresting seas, spray flying on the bow,
Sins and seasickness painfully repented,
Except Bezas of Megra, who stood with the
Sailing master, wind-straining stripéd sails,
Cutwater cleaving stout cerulean waves.

Amongst farming villages and grazing sheep,
Pilgrims traversed idyllic Greek countryside,
Souls on steady climb, faithful adoration
Upon lofty summits, cloud-swept panoramic
Views, touched by blessed sun god’s rising
Radiance, warmth bathing his fertile earthen
Bowl of grapes, grains, and almond groves.

Whilst supplicants offered laurel leaves along
Oracular sacred way and presented questions
To Delphic priests, silent Bezas took to solitude
Of mountain sunlight, fluted marble columns,
Studying papyrus Ægean charts, emerging
Asian merchant sea-routes, shores beyond
Greek might, gaze of foreign eyes.

When Bezas pressed his questions to Apollo’s
Priest, they ushered him to Pythia’s naos,
Living lamplight to which all spirits bowed,
In vaporous clouds she breathed, “Bezas, tell
Of hauntings in your ocean-soul, what strange
Sunrises do you seek?” Upon bended knees
Bezas bowed, forehead touching stony floor.

Aerial View of Bosphorus Strait, Wikipedia photo.
Aerial View of Bosphorus Strait, Wikipedia photo.

“To expand rule of Greece, to build gleaming
Temples to gods, founding city-states rivaling
Athen’s might,” Bezas offered, his face obedient
Inches from aged oracular feet. In sleepless spell
She spoke, “Son of Poseidon, place you seek is
Legend shrouded, sail west to land opposite the
Blind,” to sea-horn she pointed on his chart.

By guiding winds, Bezas of Megara steered north-
East across sweeping seas, isthmus of Bosphorus
Strait. O! Visioned sight, his mind rose to ocean-
Spherical planes, Euro-Asian boundaries broken,
Beyond land-blind Chalcedon, lay the Golden
Horn, Delphic Oracle’s prophesy fulfilled, circa
660 BC, Bezas founded ancient Byzantium.

For more on Bezas and his founding of Byzantium, see this link:

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