Saint Thekla, 11th century fresco in Saviour Cathedral of Chernihiv, Russia, 2007, Wikipedia.

Part 1: Sanguineous Presence

Sister’s running screams, faces fear-pale,
Stone ghost appeared, water-trickling, blood
Dripping, writhing rock-imprisoned soul.
“What was it?” I, Cosimia asked, three frantic
Voices answered: moon-maiden, mother,
Sorceress. Sights witnessed, thus interpreted,
Real or pliant minds imagined, trespassed
Into Œtean forbidden forests, dismissed by
Shepherd parents, darkness now unveiled.

Days nothing untoward, three shepherd-
Family girls, music of moving bells, sunny
Mountain meadows, labours learnt, herding,
Birthing, wandering sheep fold returning,
Until dreams awakened, nights entranced,
Mother finding beds cold-empty, sisters,
Walking hillside-ascending paths, parents
Calling, “Myrina, Thyia, Dione.” Shreds of
Thistle-torn gowns, lost to wooded depths.

Amongst blanket folds, Thyia’s bed, stone
With bloodstain found, fillet-laced straw
Doll with Myrina. Hidden beneath Dione’s
Bed, charcoal animal drawings revealed.
“By ancient forces they have been touched,”
I stated, rather than saying violated to
Distraught parents, nomadic tribes, daughter’s
Minds, no doubt coerced, sanguineous
Presence within stonewall awakening.

“Portrait of an Old Woman,” Guido Reni, 1630, WikiArt.

Crazed crone we sought, rocky path to animal
Skull-encircled hovel, sight dimmed on mortal
Earth, her mind alighted to celestial mysteries.
“How should we address you, Wise One?” I
Asked, head bowed, parents safe-distance
Watching, rancid smoke, stench of fat-bubbling
Boiling bones. “What is it you seek, my name
Not your concern.” Sisters’ totems I placed
Before her, unspeaking pallid stares, agate
Amulet clutched to withered breast.

Three sisters, three totems, related to three rock-face
images: 
stone ghost, water-trickling, blood dripping.
Thanks for reading. 

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