“Head of Capri Girl,” John Singer Sargent, circa 1878, WikiArt.

Part 1: Bronze Door Pilgrimage

“I am light. I am creation,” sun-glowing disk
Announced, memories Œtean village elders
Shared with shepherd-farmers. Semi-circled
Round stone altar, open glen, they worshiped
Rustic fertility gods, growing seasons, zodiac
And moon, rites dedicated to crypt opening
Every third year. “Few have entered, fearing
Sealed within for 1000 days,” elders offered.
“What secrets does it hold?” Kypris, asked,
Shepherdess of spruce-clad mounts, sunlit
meadows, whispered rumors, heavy-hinged
Bronze door, laurel-overgrown.

As stars aspired, would Kypris step forward or
Selected be, nerve to enter door-wrested tomb?
Night of sleepless anticipation, pink-orange
Sunrise-illuminated clouds, light flowing all
Round her, pouring rain overnight, budding
Blades of wheat, long-meandering rows, by
Sandaled feet, shepherdess meadow-walked,
Music of sheep bells. Procession of villagers,
As pilgrim amongst them, Kypris followed,
Winding mountain paths, offerings of flowers,
Fruit, and figs, springtide celebrants, Demeter-
Devout, golden-waving harvests.

Peace, peace, my child! Kypris, enter not into
Gods’ domain without understanding of self,
Secrets concealed behind bronze, within stone
Crypts. Seek not trophies, wisdom for yourself,
If bones tomb-reside, vessels of knowledge,
Frail from elder-age undisturbéd resting cradle,
They must remain, guarded by living light, voices
Silent since Greek Dark Ages, sentient fires now
Heart-peering. Beyond this, we cannot reveal,
Except your mettle tested. For in secrecy, gods
Have willed, by innocence or naivety, Kypris
Foreseen, entering bronze tomb.

“Who will enter?” village elders asked pilgrims,
Saws and axes laurel cutting, time-tarnished
Door exposed, windowless portal, it opens not
Otherwise, by heaving pulls of oxen-yoke,
Hundred men rope pulling, tomb held fast
Against mortals, sand-pouring glass. Yet,
Gentle touches, waters flowing upon bronze
Brow, 1000 days, door yields to maiden pure,
Virginity intact, prayers received, hinges
Moaning. Undaunted, Kypris stepped forth:
“Yes, I will serve light held within.” Sunlight
Sought, portal opened, entrance granted.

“Door to Church under Kazbek,” Vasily Vereschagin, 1897, WikiArt.

Alas! With elders at her side, flaming krater
Bowl, heavenly mirror, stated, “I am light!
I am creation!” Fear not bones of dead, no
Decaying flesh nor weapons found, entered
You have Tempe, holy sanctuary, celestial
Heights, vale overlooking. Carry no fiery
Torches, contained herein are ancient papyri,
Holy scriptures, recorded not by mortal
Men or women, but by ancients, locked behind
This door, wisdom, recollections, memories,
Prophesies. Choose amongst you, only one,
Who threshold crossed, shall remain.

New multi-part poem begins, Kypris as main character with light-providing flaming
krater bowl. For more on ancient Vale of Tempe, and its place in literature, see this
link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vale_of_Tempe 

Thanks for reading.

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