"Nude Young Woman," Giorgione, 1508, WikiArt photo.
“Nude Young Woman,” Giorgione, 1508, WikiArt photo.

Part 4: Communion of Faithful

The world defeated by Atalanta’s might, long
Dark-robed procession temple came, followers
Who sacrificed all they loved, proclaiming her
Desert dominion, grim with mortal blood.
Rule extending to Libyan Seas, in shadowed
Silence, each penitent bowed, veiled foreheads
Touching temple floor. At open sarcophagus,
They prayed to Atlanta’s bones, communion
Of faithful, they embraced her sacred skull.

In elegant recess, ancient goddess reposed,
Each supplicant at her command, assembling
At her feet, disciples spreading obedience and
Destruction upon distant lands. Thus, steeds
Of war stampeded oases and villages, attacks
Preceded by choking sandstorms, burying
Man and beast in resisting towns. By sword
And sand, Atalanta’s name echoed from
Citadels, “All Victorious” she was praised.

O! Silence of gods and prophets! Can no force
Curb malignant flood? Kandaké lost to ocean
Depths, promise of resurrection, divine pledge
Feared broken. Suffering years of darkness,
Sands scorching flesh and bone, forsaken seek
Shelter from defiler’s deceiving wretch, their
Pleas heard, across oceans, distant city gates.
Confronted with certain death, all foreigners
Became brothers, their gods heaven-merged.

"Return of Neptune," John Singleton Copley, 1754, WikiArt photo.
“Return of Neptune,” John Singleton Copley, 1754, WikiArt photo.

By Neptune’s hand, Kandaké took revitalizing
Breath, pulse returning strong, eyes daring-
Bright, fates loom reweaving, potters turning
Vengeful vase, no promise of swift peace. Alas!
Welling seas remembered earth liquefied beneath
Heracleion, temples swallowed, treasures lost,
Ceremonial ships capsized, statues of Egyptian
Gods and pharaohs tumbling-drowned, tremors
Felt from Giza to Dead Sea Holy Lands.

Whilst the footpath is arduous and steep, ocean storms foretell metamorphosis of Kandaké, ruin to Atalanta as
concluded in Part 5. That which was once built on clifftops
Strong slipped into unfathomed seas.

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