“Went into Hill Country,” Vasily Polenov, 1894, WikiArt.

Part 1: Clay Tablet Inscriptions

Clay tablets discovered, inscriptions found
Thereon, archaic tongue translated by village
Elders, rock exposed niche. Asked dozen
Times, “Cosimia, what brought you to this
Place?” My answer the same: wandering
Familiar trails, mind-body separated, it,
Too, ventured amongst treetops, oft into
Cloud, sense of time, place dissolved,
Heights of purple air. Share again what
Time-broken tablets tells, “Wisdom enters
Not malevolent soul, nor dwells in body
Bent on evils, sins.” Thus was translation,
Some variance to words but not meaning,
As much warning as greater truth.

More than this single admonition must
Exist, etched on lost-sister fragments:
Context, author(s) unknown. My mother
Had unusual request, “Cosimia, will you
Walk again on same mind-bending trails?”
Into winding heights I strove, annoying
Mother, elders crept along path, just
Within eye-corner sight. “It won’t work!”
I shouted. “Immortal gods, priests, and
Prophets are of same substance, divine
Light,” I stated, path-stumbling, origin of
Words I knew not, except mountaintop
Written, heights beyond mortal reach.

Memories, images of abandoned cities,
Villages, clifftop built, ocean-overlooking,
Mind-cloud swirling, self-separated, my
Body footpath fallen, breathing, held in
Mother’s arms. Where is divine found,
Realized, in simple and complex, body of
Ant, equations of Pythagoras, child’s
Trusting love, weakest of worldly things.
O! How bathed I was in radiant light, soul
Overwhelmed, confronted by gates of death,
Then rising upwards, knowledge, wisdom
Imparted until heart-sorrowing, priests
Smashing tablets on temple steps, for
Deific knowledge, visions offered.

“Priestess,” John William Godward, 1893, WikiArt.

“Ancient Ones, forgive me, I am not one you
Seek,” I pleaded, release from magic spells.
Upon temple steps I stood, priestess, tablets
Breast clutching, flourishing Age of Wisdom,
Columned clifftop city, peace, health, farm-
Lands bountiful, flowered garlands gifted,
All this I would forfeit, or live new life, for
I had touched divine substance, living light,
Liquid flowing within. “What of mother?”
I wondered. “Our village life? Response:
“Same blood or soul shall not be separated.”
Thunderclap! Hundred ages transported, to
What city-state or citadel? All sailing ships,
Pilgrims, seek but one holy place: Kerkyra.

For more on ancient Kerkyra, or modern-day Corfu, click here.
Thanks for reading.

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