"Jacob with Flock of Laban," Jusepe de Ribera, WikiArt photo.
“Jacob with Flock of Laban,” Jusepe de Ribera, WikiArt photo.

Isle amongst islands, Kyra, dwelling place
Of shepherd tribes, descendants of Cadmea,
Guided flocks across thistled tangles and
High pasturelands, to rock-fissured springs,
Wall-toppled ruins, rustic clans worshiping
Persephone, ceremonies of mystery, pure
Waters upwelling from living stone, hymns
And prayers to ancient earth deities.

By flickering firelight, all offered in unison:
“Sons and daughters of earth, starry skies,
Parched we are with thirst, flocks island
Dying, seashores of bitter brine, grant us
Water, cold and pure, from holy springs.”*
As was custom, blood of a lamb sprinkled
Upon granite face, sacrificing one, blessings
So that shepherd families flourished.

Since antiquity, such rites were given and
Spring waters received, until chthonic
Tremors shuttered founts, bone dry they
Became, meadows so dying, flocks failing,
Descendants of Cadmus island abandoning,
Full circle of ruin returning, weeping prayers
To goddess Persephone, boats pushed from
Shores, last few sheep forsaken.

In darkest hour, sea turned glass smooth,
Pastel-oil shimmering, wind ripping water
Upwelling, shepherd clans sailing into ever-
Widening waves, water erupting amongst
Wine-dark eddies. Who dared taste or dive
Within? Fresh and cold, earth-moved spring,
Prayers of Kyræn clans answered, verdant-
Meadow life now restored.

Around campfires, melodies of sheep bells,
Legend tells, Persephone dream instilled,
Bronze funnel made, arm’s breadth mouth,
Leather sleeves made, sewn and conjoined,
Funnel lowered deep into welling waves,
Up-flowing fresh water came, from boats
Pitchers filled, pilgrims from Greece and
Thessaly prayed, island flocks thrived.

"Madonna with Child," Francisco de Zurban, 1658, Wikiart photo, for this poem Lexine and Zalen.
“Madonna with Child,” Francisco de Zurban, 1658, Wikiart photo.

Whilst ancient tribes of Cadmus are time-
Lost, sacred life continues on Kyra Island,
Byzantine monastery overlooks sacred isle,
Ceremonies honouring dormition of Mary,
Holy Mother, passing earthly life, springs
Of ancients welling forth, remains buried
In repose, sequestered life of holy monks
Still cloaked in mystery and in ceremony.

* Adapted from texts of Greek Orphic tablets.

Likewise, this fictitious account of Krya Island is cloaked in
ancient history and monastic fact, the setting changed and
Ancient shepherds introduced. Undersea welling f
resh water
is based on historical accounts 
in “Pausanias’s Description of
Greece,” springs 
of fresh water, such as Chimerium in
Thesprotis, were rediscovered in modern times.

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