"Forestry Workers," Camille Corot, 1875, WikiArt photo.
“Forestry Workers,” Camille Corot, 1875, WikiArt photo.

Part 8: Darkness of Mankind

Awakened by distant voices and crash of
Falling trees, Dolius and Ilithya climbed to
Temple rooftops, discovering approach of
Greek armies, enchained slaves clearing
Overgrown Mountain trails. “They have
Discovered ancient quarry road,” advised
Dolius. “The onslaught, soldiers, masses
Arriving at temple doors.” Implications
Ilithya understood, pilgrims descending,
Sick and infirm, on foot and oxen cart, the
Pair overwhelmed, chariot-riding generals
Demanding oracular sight for victorious
Outcomes of sieges and of battles, invading
Legions surviving, dying by Ilithya’s sight.

“What should we do?” Ilithya asked Dolius.
“Consult Apollo,” he offered, his mind lost
To distress. “We reside at his mountaintop
Domain.” Bare feet quiet on cool stone floors,
Ilithya entered temple naos and knelt at
Apollo’s gleaming marble statue, her head
Touching ornate pedestal. “I am here,” stated
Sun god, corporeal form assumed.  “Darkness
Of mankind approaches. You and Dolius walk
With me along temple porticoes, commune at
Reflecting pools.” “My child just now first-
Moved,” stated Ilithya. “His quickening at my
Presence,” stated Apollo, his right hand placed
Upon her abdomen, our time of celebration.

"Anger of Achilles," Jacques-Louis David, 1819, WikiArt photo.
“Anger of Achilles,” Jacques-Louis David, 1819, WikiArt photo.

Yet, Apollo foresaw beyond Ilithya and their
Child, generals, first horses hooves and chariot
Wheels negotiating pedimented pathways. “This
Temple was built upon foundations of an earlier
Sanctuary,” Apollo recalled. “Place of eternal
Flame, bearing ancient name, Kastalia. Sacred
Fires burned, war-extinguished, alighted new in
Peace.” As his right hand moved across reflecting
Pools, images appeared: temples built, destroyed,
War and famine, cities sea-lost, harvests, feasting,
Advent of art architecture. “Things of man are
Transient,” he offered. “Only in humility and
Peace shall they enter this temple.”

For more on Apollo’s oracular temple at Delphi, see this link:

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