"In the Peristyle," Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1866, WikiArt photo.
“In the Peristyle,” Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1866, WikiArt photo.

O! Invocation of the muse…
Woven web of fates, souls recast and
Re-emerging, thousand ages past, life
Amongst pine-clad summits, daughter of
Greek patriarchs, Iyonna dwelled within
Peristyle-protected villa, fountains and
Saffron-scented bathing pools, her hair
Worn in single, stately braid, back-long,
Twisted round her head.

Devoted to medicinal arts, Iyonna wor-
Shipped Asculapius and was a student
Of Hippocrates and Galen, healing snakes,
Balms, herbs, last resort incising knife
And cauterizing fire, she treated patients
Who relied on her new elixirs, salves, and
Exercise, all requiring prayers and offer-
Ings to blesséd gods.

From vault eternal, conclaved gods noticed
Iyonna’s lyrical humming whilst distilling
Flowers of aconite, poisonous plants used
As medications, several drops relieved
Burning fevers, restored heart and labored
Breath, provided sleep for surgery without
Sense or memory, whilst one toxic swallow
Brought violent convulsions, death.

Deep within Iyonna’s psyche, sorceress from
Mycenæan dark ages resided, Rhene, who by
Chanting, amulets, and spells, cast out demonic
Disorders, by melodic refrains and incense
Burning, she kept malevolent spirits at bay,
Ancient memories pantheon gods recollected
As Rhene made her presence felt during
Iyonna’s preparation of palliative medications.

Sleeping cells with slithering snakes, Iyonna
Took her patients debilitated by degenerative
Disease, deformity of bone and joints, they
Slept on small cots as serpents coiled around
Infirmed limbs or lingered over weakened
Organs, their healing powers known since
Rhene, with rod and chants, expelled ailments,
Rapine of weary body and soul.

"Temple of Æsculapius," John William Waterhouse, 1877.
“Temple of Æsculapius,” John William Waterhouse, 1877.

Upon altar lay male child of aristocratic family,
Feverish, body quaking, votive and animal
Offerings ineffectual in allaying evils posses-
Sing child. “O! Divine gods,” cried Iyonna and
Rhene in unisoned echoes, “Rites of flesh and
Flame, strike all rage,” chanted they, waving
Braid unbound, divine forces arose, blood-
Voices wailing, by healing rod they struck
Peccant foe, affliction from child so cleaved.

In dual voices Iyonna and Rhene spoke from
Temple steps, “We conjoin ourselves as one!”
Healing tempests received by gods old and
New, metamorphosed maid burst into sacred
Light, plaudits of Asculapius’ trumpet, mortal-
Divine, they healed sick and injured at temple
Altar, by elixirs or godly decree, they served
Until old age, until blaze left their eyes.

“In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas / corpora…” 
“I intend to speak of forms changed into new entities…”
Book I, Lines 1&2.

Written whilst in divine radiance of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,”
my heart and soul ablaze, be sea and foam, flame and fire,
at summit altars, I beseech the gods on bended knee,
for 440 poems hath transformed me. 

Social profiles