"Dawn" William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1881, WikiArt photo.
“Dawn,” William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1881, WikiArt photo.

Part 4: Ilithya’s Epiphany

Dawn on boundless seas, sun’s warmth rising
Upon Cyprus mountaintops, Ilithya alabaster
White, dead to touch, received splashing rays
Of reviving light, body bronze-blazing, by
Apollo’s touch, his maiden was resurrected
And with sun god she ascended, two minds
Mingling amongst opalescent clouds, embraces
Exchanged. Apollo’s offering of honeyed figs
And fruits, within his regal robe, godly nectars
Flowed. Ilithya emerged anew on distant ridge,
Life implanted in maternal womb. O! Fated
Oracle, into awaiting arms of Dolius, Ilithya
Fell, for remained one final climb, pathway to
Oracular temple on imposing summits high.

Ascending thousand rocky steps, pilgrims hymns
And prayers recited, by each rising course, souls
Were sin-purged, drink and rest at tight landings.
Upon steep stretches, some knee-high, clouds
Obscured sun and view, such acts of fearful
Faith, reckoning with wet-slick stones, one slip
Plummeting into pine-forests, focusing on few
Steps ahead, forbidden to look or turn back, as
Dozen faithful, above and below, such devotion
Manifest in grueling labours. “Think of resting
Plateaus, sunlit pastures,” Dolius advised, “Paths
Above the clouds await.” Thus, Ilithya climbed,
Yearning for resting moments, taste of sweet
Spring water, as deific life stirred within.

"The Veil," William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1898, WikiArt photo.
“The Veil,” William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1898, WikiArt photo.

O! How free the mountain air, ascending into
Cool breezes and radiant sunlight, difficult
Steps now granite walkways, steps rising from
Flowery meadows, clear-flowing streams to first
Glimpse of holy oracular temple, knowledge and
Wisdom of gods derived from fume-bubbling
Waters, arising not from mountain streams but
From deep earth tremors, abysmal granite chasms,
Where chthonic forces rose to Apollo’s call, sight
Gifted to his oracle. Yet, to young Ilithya, farseeing
Forces touched her mind, beyond meandering
Valley groves, field-working peasants, to sun-
Rising horizon edge, where time mercurial reigns,
By epiphany realized, holy oracle Ilithya became.

“As wave is driven by wave and each, pursued, pursues
the wave ahead, so time flies on and follows, flies, and
follows, always, forever and new. What was before is
left behind; what never was is now; and every passing
moment is renewed.”
Ovid, “Metamorphoses”

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