"The Muses," Eustache Le Suer, circa 1645, WikiArt photo.
“The Muses,” Eustache Le Suer, circa 1645, WikiArt photo.

Part 1: Creation and Awakening

We were seven, creations of Æther and his
Sister, Hermera, rising from abstraction on
Strident wings, Ilissian muses, elemental
Thunder, each of divine domains, firmament
Of voices, Greek Bronze Age, maidens of sky,
Sea, and silver moonlight, minds and thought
Awakened at sacred temple springs.

Dwelling at round temple of Pentalic marble,
Fluted columns encircling, we were spared
From war and pestilence invading Attic shores.
Instead, human hearts we inspired, bodies
Healed at holy founts, deep and clear, ritual
Cleansing and rustic mysteries observed,
Adjacent to ocean-flowing Ilissos River.

Thus are memories of ancient ages, well
Spoken then as now, Phemie, was my name,
Pilgrimages by land and water we received,
Blesséd muses we were called, pastel linen
Gowns, modest and chaste, we knew not
Mortal intimacies, except those shared in
Poetry, music, wisdom, and prophesy.

Muse ChartAmongst towering sycamores and porticoes,
Plato and Socrates taught along river banks,
Walking to temple boundary stones, prayers
For insight and genius, at sacred altar votive
Offerings made, flowers and first fruits to
Divine, Æther and Hermera, personification
Of sky. O! How free the upper air.

Since few references to Ilissian muses exist, this poem
is historical fiction as are the names and domains of
these muses. According to Pausanias and his multi-
volume “Description of Greece,” they are “unsupported
conjecture.” However, I believe otherwise, and in this
poem, they are presented as ancient entities or minor
deities, predating nine classical muses.

Next is “Part 2: Sorrowed Wisdom.”

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