Flora we remember your festivals of spring
And fantasies, life-burgeoning sun, flower-
Gracing Rome, wine-flowing ceremonies, rites
Of fertility, bare-breasted we loved, votive
Offerings at your temple atop sunlit Quirinal
Hill, fields of hearty wheat waving, flowers of
Purple flame, blooming beneath adoring eyes.
We honoured your Floralia, divine celebrations
Of vernal equinox, spectacles of nudity, blushed
Maidens in arousal took muscled suitors to their
Arms, impassioned oiled bodies, elixir of sun and
Flesh, writhing and entwined upon your marble
Steps, within holy colonnades, praising and
Invoking goddess’ fertile blessings.
In words of poet Ovid, “You start in April and
Cross to the time of May, one has you as it
Leaves, one as it comes since the edges of these
Months are yours and defer to you, either of
Them suits your praises. The Circus continues
And the theatre’s lauded palm, let this song,
Too, join the Circus spectacle.”*
Your dominion lost to myth, ink-faded papyrus,
Flora, the artist’s careful hand fashioned your
Regal visage, delicate cameo-shell enlivened,
Poised quietly, eternity within knowing gaze,
Face sublime as noble Pantheon deities, flowers
And fillets your hair adorned, our fond remem-
Brances of springtime ecstasies.
*Publius Ovidius Naso, Fasti, Book V, verses 185-190.