“Meditation,” William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1902, WikiArt.

Spring morn, sunlight warming winter-pale flesh,
Fertility rituals performed, translation of ancient
Papyri, “Blossoms Gathered.” Unwary gaze, eyes
Mirror bright, maidens awaiting muscled suitors,
Gossamer gown feet-falling, secluded evenings
Amongst almond groves, face, form embraced.
Untaken, unadorned, Iola, mountain shepherdess,
Observed rustic couplings from distance, ardent
Passages unsanctioned, denied.

“How I long for days, nights, passions eternal,”
By mournful strum of lyre, Iola sang, refrains
Wingéd soared, mortal-divine shackles burst,
Beckoning cloud-borne deific ears. By divine
Breath, all earth round Iola rose alive, blossoms
Heaven arrayed, fountain flood, falling veil,
Trees wind-bending at her behest, even great
Granite stones reared their hoary heads, ritual
Lovers laid infirm upon sweet-scented beds.

More strange, more wondrous Iola’s pasturelands
Became, mistress of her spruce-clad world, raised
By heaven to ethereal heights. “What love I have
Felt and known, beyond writhing mortal ones
Groaned-entwined.” As shepherdess maiden, Iola
Forfeited some small worldly part, lived out her
Years as gods blesséd guest. As legend related,
Iola minor deity became, her lyre-song oft heard
When sunlit clouds touched nearby mountaintops.

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