“Portrait of a Woman,” Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1902, WikiArt.

Part 2: Beginning to End (Last)

Timeless pool, I, Arete, filled in, destroyed.
Once man-discovered, atrocities committed,
Killing innocents, taking slaves, families so
Separated. Thus, my decision made, single
Journey to turmoiled time, lesser wings of
Mortal woman, absented from deific hosts,
Observing daily farming families, overcoming
Grief, illness, land healing, progression slow,
Crops growing, harvests, until Kallon, solider
Time-lost, knocked upon my door, wilderness-
Wandering 100 years, my deific shortcomings
Revealed by his virtue, divine daylight.

As earth followed solar orb amongst twelve
Zodiacs, gods advanced lofty course, life-
Brimming blessings, celestial cycles, by
This I prayed, aloud not for myself, but
For greatest good, concepts lost by kings,
Generals on foreign battlefields. Beside
Mud-filled timeless pool, I stood, rising
Heights, stone pediments to treetops,
Consciousness amongst luminescent clouds,
Voice echoing across Attic hills and vales.
That which I thought realized was nonethe-
Less more than ever dreamt or reckoned.

“Self-exile, I desire no longer, of those saved
From time-ravages, warring men destroyed in
Equal shares for decades, year for year. Lo!
Mortals fear time as enemy. For gods, ever-
Flowing streams, traverse past and present,
Future tides we perceive, this pool nameless
Ancients created.” By my pleas, I felt eyes,
Mortal and divine my direction turning, truths
Understood. “Arete, what do you desire?” choir
Of heavenly strains mind-filling, echoed amongst
Highest hills. “Healing pool,” I responded. “So
Be it, if attended by priest or priestess.”

Dark clouds descending on Attic plains, earth
Trembling, trees tumbling down, all round me
Whirling swound, time unraveling, backwards
Flowing, Kallon unknocking at cottage door.
Crops and orchards war-blighted, pasturelands
And farms returned to flame, death, slavery,
Disease marched undaunted across tide-receding
Plains. Lo! 100 triremes circled overhead, flaming
Arrows to archer’s bows returned, sea-storms
Calming, Kallon from my grip torn, swallowed by
Howling vortex. Thus, my prayers answered.

“Flower Clouds,” Odilon Redon, 1903, WikiArt.

Alas! As goddess, I, Arete, was not immune,
Reversal of deific fates, my decision, mortal
Living, I ascended revolving light. Dying
Vines, pool-protecting marble lions, sphinx
Reborn, unshattered by my hands, time-
Turning pool restored, muddy debris lifted
Into maelstrom-wide waterspout. From
Fiery clouds, I witnessed pool restored, trans-
Formed to healing laves. Backwards walking
Unto me, Kallon upswept from Attic shores,
Awakened, priest he would become, my
Account, beginning to end, end to beginning.

Two-part poem of time-turning pool and goddess Arete, virtue can take
numerous forms, with honourable intentions ending in ruin. Whilst
living as mortal woman, all Arete r
ealized was undone, for naught.
For more on this lesser-known deity, see this link:
Thanks for reading.

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