Part 1: Rheta, Fruit-Bearing Tree
Older than collective memory, Ceremony
Of Delphale, began as oil-anointed stone
Overlooking ever-roaring waterfall, mist
And wondrous rainbows, revered as
Place of healing, votive offering cast to
Foaming falls, waters-edge laves, closer
To cascading waters, injuries, ailments
Cured. This day we cast female figures of
Rheta, young girl, captivated by alluring
Limnéd spray, tumbled to her death,
Drowned within turbulent depths.
Parents at rambling edge prayed, Rheta
Survived, long minutes passed without
Avail, until from still waters she arose,
Light bathed, perilous rocks ascending,
As temple steps she strove, for Rheta
Was not herself, another body assumed,
Goddess Delphale, dozen voices in
Harmony spoke, first in tongues ancient,
To memory lost, recalling word-phrases
We recalled, thoughts in mortal from
Beckoned from heaven’s golden fields.
“Shield your eyes!” goddess announced.
Knees to sandy beach we fell, looking
Away, sunlight bathed, by her presence
Over-washed. “Light of truth and wisdom
I, Delphale, bring, from life’s beginning
To end, we are all children, some blesséd,
By fates accursed. Offer not the living,
But bodies lost to death, from these falls
I shall guidance offer. One amongst you
My priestess shall be.”
My heart pricked, to feet I stood, water
Lapping, looking downward still. “I am
Thessala, Divine Mother, priestess I will
Become. We pray you save Rheta, by
Accident she fell, in faith we believe.”
Passion and pain, goddess to marble
Face turned, “Life and death, everything
Returns to One, lives given, years god-
Gifted forfeited. Fruit-bearing tree Rheta
Shall become, blossoming, roots earth-
Deep, radiant sunlight reaching.”
Thus was beginning of Ceremony of Delphale, child falling to watery death,
goddess stream emerged, transformation of fruit tree, Thessala priestess made.
Over decades, stream drought-dries, or from heavy rains, turns raging flood.
In this poem, Delphale is ancient female variant of Kephale.