"Spirit of the Summit," Frederic Leighton, WikiArt photo.
“Spirit of the Summit,” Frederic Leighton, WikiArt photo.

Part 1: Dark Dove Flies Anew

The earth died before our eyes, bloated fish
Washed upon burnings sands, height of
August heat, we prayed for rain. Offerings
And sacrifices made, absent gods appeased,
We slayed listless yearling lamb, life-blood
Congealing upon sun-scorched fields, some
Believed more sin than redeeming rite. After
Weeks of drought, we roamed naked in our
Fields, self-accursed we became.

Awakened by clanging alarms, fisherfolk
Fears raised, storm clouds ravaging nearby
Isles, dark streak on horizon’s edge. Lo!
Torrent rains fell, roaring mountain gorges,
Malignant flood uprooting forests thick and
Tall. Alas! We cried and prayed to any god,
Old or new, save us, before field beasts and
Olive groves upswept to seas tormented, my
Life overthrown, family should not perish.

Dark dieties, oracular seers, tombs fractured
By quaking earth, down-pouring rains, blood
Of sun-dying lamb beckoned ancient Hellas
Gods, dark-age memories, chthonic voices
Troubling immortal gods, temples destroyed,
Earth salt-sown, random stones marked cities
Dead, desiccated bones revitalized, face of
Deific parentage obliterated from naos walls.
From curse-buried crypt, spirits awakened.

"Italian Girl's Head," John William Godward, 1902, WikiArt photo.
“Italian Girl’s Head,” John William Godward, 1902, WikiArt photo.

By fates and prayers, we survived, lashed wrist
And waist to broken temple columns, stone-
Jutting, temple to archaic gods, forgotten
Generations, overgrown in time and vines.
This morn such pediments stood unearthed,
Gleaming marble porticoes, six cippi-flanked
Steps rising into crimson clouds, god-child
Images decorating each stele, hand-chiseled
Languages spoke aloud: “Dodona has risen!”

According to mythology, Dodona was an oracle of Zeus,
and was second only to legendary oracles of Delphi. In this
poem, Dodona is a chthonic deity, beyond an oracular seer,
resurrected from Greek Dark Ages. She was the subject of
numerous Greek writers, including Strabo, Hesiod, and Plato.

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