“Love Leading the Pilgrim,” Edward Burne-Jones, WikiArt.

Part 3: Diaspora of Fifty (Last)

Elders threw not stones at Cosmiia and myself,
Iliona, her mother, instead they cast seeds of
Doubt, those ridiculing my daughter fertile
Ground for purposes vile, altar smashing and
Defacing. Few faithful remained, shade of
Orchards resting, all food from garden eaten,
No recourse but abandon our cottage, took
To winding mountain paths, more pilgrimage
Than banishment. “Mother,” Cosimia advised,
“People cannot change until they purify their
Hearts.” Thus was benediction of our village,
Renewal promised on mountain heights.

Fragment 8:
Archaic deities of highland wind-voices,
Welcomed us, motion of life, trees bowing
To invisible, hillsides awakened to their
Whispers, advent of Eternal gods. Take
Cleansing baths in clear springs, sup fruit,
Bread, healing herbs, sacred flames, eye-
Burning smoke, earth mingles good and
Ill, fates, all round us light-assumed.

Alas! We had become diaspora, exodus from
homeland, gathering pilgrims, fifty strong,
Young and old alike. One question Cosimia
Asked” “In whom or what do you believe?”
Straightway, Cosimia shown illuminated,
Pilgrims offering names of rustic gods,
Rituals in faith performed, each deity
Interpretations, reflections of divine.

Fragment 9:
All sick of body and heart, come forward,
Presence of Eternal Ones, fire-flowing raiment
Touched, gods in mortal form revealed. Single
File, pilgrims approached, sandals cast off,
Heads bowed, some nearby earth-protruding
Stone kissing, sickness healed, hearts fulfilled.
Upon this holy rock, new altar, shrine erected.

Eternal Ones spoke aloud, voice of wind-
Waving wheat, tree rustling. Many of valley
Villages denied wisdom of our words, were
Not accepting of divine. Within each of you
Verses come welling forth, goodness and
Mercy, small deeds in kindness perform, herb
Healing, mitigation of grief, reveal not who
You are, other than wanderer, mother, father,
Gods realized through sacred acts and deeds.

“Bride of Lebanon,” Edward Burne-Jones, 1891, WikiArt.

Fragment 10:
Each blesséd pilgrim arose, living light, one
With immortal gods, love undaunted, yet
By divine instruction restrained, mountain
Paths they strove, lone disciples, mystics,
And like immortal gods, seen and unseen,
Divinity in sandaled feet, village visiting,
Healing, then hillside disappearing.

As last of these mountain descended, clifftops
Trembled, trees uprooted, bright binding light,
Like wind-lost fillet, from Cosimia fell. Alas!
Course of rivers and time changed, daughter
Returned, unharmed, recalling all transpired.
Hugs, joyous words spoken: “Mother, I am here.”
Lo! Poetic fragments, once spoken, unwritten
On papyri, ceased in verse, hereby ended.

Thanks for reading these three-part “poetic fragments.”

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