"Goddess of Youth and Cupbearer Hebe and Eagle Zeus," Louis Fischer, 1827, Wikimedia photo. For this poem, Dianthē, which means "God-Flower."
“Goddess of Youth and Cupbearer Hebe and Eagle Zeus,” Louis Fischer, 1827, Wikimedia photo.
For this poem, Dianthē, which means “God-Flower.”

Precocious child of pasturelands and wild-
Woods, Dianthē was an innocent who knew
Not ways of gods or man. Age twelve, she
Rambled barefoot amongst Attica olive
Groves, thistled aerie heights, hair tangled,
Skin sun-burnished, by nocturnal food-stealing
She survived, eating hand-to-mouth.

Upon rocky heights, Dianthē watched shep-
Herd Kadmos, who often glimpsed her, feral
And unwashed, haunting Athenian farms and
Vineyards, always on the run. She found solace
Listening to sheep plaintive bleating, ringing
Brass bells. Moved by Kadmos’ flute playing,
Her heart was captivated by pastoral refrains.

From sedgy rocks, Dianthē marveled as
Kadmos chanted evening prayers, icons of
Gods and family placed reverently on granite
Stones, blessings of godly life, visions spread
Across her soul, whether by courage or by
Inspiration, she stepped naked from wilder-
Ness to rest amongst his flocks.

As Kadmos led his sheep, Dianthē followed
Narrow winding paths, never close nor out of
Sight, they reached Athena’s mountain temple.
Under blossom-scented trees, Dianthē drew
Close, weary and uncertain, marbled terraces,
Massive doors of bronze, protected goddess’
Sanctuary, holy inner realm.

Amongst visiting worshipers, Dianthē slipped
Past temple doors ajar, entering Athena’s altar
Room, where only her priestess was allowed
To pray. Upon seeing Athena’s statue, Dianthē
Climbed fluted pedestal, urchin’s dirty hands
Strained upward to grasp Athena’s taintless
Fingers, awakening her from sleeping stone.

Sightless marble, body of marmoreal, divine
Blood and bone, Athena breath inhaled, and to
Dianthē, inflicted scorn of vengeful eyes. “You
Hath violated me, wraith, and my sacred chamber.”
By reaching to Athena, Dianthē gained flower-
Adorned beauty, equally cursed by same,
Forever cast as cupbearer to the lesser gods.

Some may remember Zeus’ Hebe or handsome
Ganymede, cup bearers to elitist gods. Inspired by
Kadmos’ prayers and melodic flute-song, when
Dianthē touched Athena, love and beauty were
Instilled. Who was Kadmos? Whether human,
Demi-god, or vexing satyr, fates transformed
Wilding Dianthē into a beautiful maid.

Who do you believe shepherd Kadmos may have been?

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