“Study, Mural in Lunette,” Charles Pearce, 1896, WikiArt.

Part 4: Rhete Reincarnated (Last)

Drought upon our village, farmers above
Us diverting flowing streams, waterfall rock-
Tricked, turbulent depths now stilled pool
We emptied for our crops, bones of dead and
Votive offerings discovered, ceremony of
Delphale. Priestess Thessala, I summoned
Goddess at her altar, overlooking secluded
Muddy bank. “What shall we do, Delphale?
Wells running dry? Elders and field beasts
Suffering. Sweat from breasts pouring, by
Early morn, we labour naked in the fields.”

Sorrows softened, Delphale, stream arising
As peasant woman, “When mother’s water
Breaks, child known as Rheta born, changeling
She shall be, power of creation, wells and
Streams o’erflowing, waterfalls giving up
Her dead.” Prophesy I shared with Rheta’s
Mother, Ileana, that which gods have womb-
Conceived, like archers’ arrows loosed, raging
Floods cannot be contained. As her time drew
Near, thunder clouds gathered, lightning
Struck her cottage, breaching childbirth.

Alas! Child presented, feet and arms, cord
Entangled, required sharp knife to abdomen,
Thrust to glowing coals, cutting flesh below
her navel, nymph’s webbed fingers and toes,
Creature of deep seas, born in pouring rains,
Repeated blasts of thunder, air-breathing,
Swimming motions. “What is it?” Ileana cried,
Face pale, chest quaking, blood and water,
Gushed, like Rheta tree-enchanted, she breathed
Her last, abdomen so rent open, child, part
Frog and fish, leapt into my arms.

“Family, Mural in Lunette,” Charles Pearce, 1896, WikiArt.

Bathing bowl of warm water, Rhete reincarnated,
Large eyes, green skin, spiny fins, free of trees
And dark womb, she longed for running streams,
Ocean currents. Before me, Rhete transformed
To nymph, deific beauty, child conceived of
Delphale and Ileana. Torrential rain, rivers
Swelling, fields and meadows soaked, roaring
Waterfalls, churning turbulence flooded into
Healing pools, each flowering-tree encircled,
By Rhete’s divine presence, bones of dead arose,
Infirmities cured by Ceremony of Delphale.

Thanks for reading this four-part poem of water imagery conveyed in
various 
ways: waterfalls, streams, wells, and childbirth, all integral to
Ceremony of Delphale. 

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