"Flora," Titian, 1515, WikiArt photo.
“Flora,” Titian, 1515, WikiArt photo.

For six days Kandaké traveled upon broad
Back of Libyan Sea, heaving brine, salt spray,
She fed on bread honey-dipped, ambrosia.
Her gown sea-blue and silvery white, to City
Of Cyrene, sailing white wings flew, prayers
At Temple of Zeus, flaming altar his Ægis and
Sword received, blessings of immortal gods,
Sacrifice of yearling lamb, Libyan seaports
Trembled, deific molding molten rock.

Alone Kandaké confronted Atalanta, by god’s
Decree she must disappear into desert night
Or face unholy wrath. Long-winged bird,
Ancient goddess transformed, flesh-tearing
Beak and talons, she attacked Kandaké, and
Alighted on temple parapets. Emerging from
Sands concealed, thousand warriors took to
Bow, thousand on thousand arrows shrieked,
Piercing goddess’ hellish womb and heart.

Chorus:
For atrocities inflicted and endured, Atalanta
Fell to death, Age of Brass defeated, ancient
Papyri Kandaké retrieved, lamp of holy oil
Shattered in sarcophagus, bones to fiery end.
Tumult of sea and flame, tale too horrific in
Telling, upheaval of desert sands, liquefaction
Of earth’s bubbling bowels, temple pillars into
Abyss collapsed, peaceful sands restored as
Gods ordained to oasis tree-encircled.

"Aurora's Head," Salvador Dali, 1977, WikiArt.
“Aurora’s Head,” Salvador Dali, 1977, WikiArt.

Decades later, fishing with his Ægean family,
Kandaké’s son at helm, weighted nets unfolded
Amongst fish-thick ocean reefs, their sailing
Boat brought to hard stop. Nets caught on
Undersea monuments, malevolent forces
Awakened, for divers found bubbling edifice,
Seaweed streaming marble head and torso,
Arms and legs nearby. Atalanta rekindled
Age of Brass at Kandaké’s island chapel.

After this reading this five-part poem, do you believe 
Kandaké and Atalanta are transient or enduring 
poetic characters? 

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