“Sancta Lilacs,” Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1874, WikiArt.

Parents’ disbelief, temple ruins overgrown
In mountain spruces, children ascending
Granite steps, branch-obscured, hand-hewn,
Foot-worn, past to darkness lost, except for
Page torn from ancient book, family shown,
Tangle of hand-penned texts, illustrations
Of lilac painted, dancing female figures,
Portrait of Astarte, all cryptic until shown
To Kypris older daughter of shepherd
Family, hidden worlds revealed, beyond
Understanding, she chanted texts aloud.

Cryptic hymns Kypris sang, of goddess
Astarte, entranced daughter bore uncanny
Semblance, to summit altars Kypris strove,
Family following winding up-borne paths
To cloud-swept heights sunlight limned,
Each turn Kypris became less herself, no
Recourse but continue on, thunderclap,
Lightning as one, quaking flesh and bone,
Fiery metallic taste, metamorphosis from
Loving daughter to deific queen, evening
Star above rising Mesopotamian plains.

Golden fillets wind-flowing, green-robed
Astarte memory recited ageless texts, earth
And mystical conjoined, spindled yarn spun
Anew, zodiacal signs overhead revolving,
Man and gods reunited. O! Sacrifices offered
Upon gleaming promontories, by solar rites,
Dead in burial mounds and tombs awakened,
Noble minds, creativity rekindled, medicine
To metallurgy, anvils rang aloud, by these
Glories Kypris’ family wept, wedlock of
Daughter to boundless heavens divine.

“Astarte Syricaca,” Dante Gabriel Rossetti,” 1878, WikiArt.

Such thoughts and visions within Kypris’
Bosom burned, archaic ages of bronze and
Iron merged. Lo! From pigmented paintings,
Medicinal herbs, durable black metal forged,
Ancients raised obelisk to sky, sun gleaming
Bronze-mosaic seal, beyond this point holy
Place of meditation and prayer, sick healed,
Prophetic sight restored, harvest baskets
Over-flowing, Mediterranean cities shore-
Raised, all things blessed-innumerable, Kypris
Became Astarte, flesh and goddess one-fused.

Inspired by Ovid’s “Fasti,” one of my favourite poetic topics is Ovidian
metamorphosis, human to divine — aged and d
iseased healed and born
anew by god-assuming presence. 

Written whilst listening to “Chevalier de Sangreal,” by Hans Zimmer and
Harvey, motion picture soundtrack from “The DaVinci Code.”

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