"Lamia," Herbert James Draper, 1909, oil on canvas, Wikipedia photo.
“Lamia,” Herbert James Draper, 1909, oil on canvas, Wikipedia photo.

At first, I ignored quiet voices within,
Lute-songs amongst my daily thoughts and
Words, mystical dreams within waking
Hours, reality twixt two mirrors, infinite
Reflections of myself, secretive female,
Lurking deftly behind my eyes.

On a mind-clearing morning walk, she
Announced herself, Lamia, Libyan queen,
Exotic beauty of North African antiquity,
Fair mistress of Zeus, and by Hera’s curse,
Transformed into a serpent monster,
Her children mercilessly killed.

Within my brain, she coiled her slinking
Form, luminous snake skin, banded with
Dead-child grief, entwining psyche and
Soul, glinting serpent eyes, whipping
Tongue, stimulating and deranging,
Charm-cursing who I am, the woman I
Used to be, blissfully writhing, ensnared.

Tempest stalk corrupted my morning roam,
As much echoing in my mind, Lamia
Approached amidst meadows flowing,
Spotted red-black, venomous fangs poised
For mortal embrace, asp lunging tremulous
Breasts, dæmon’s poisoned bane, injecting
Toxic flames, metallic taste of death.

For days or hours I know not which, I stag-
Gered wild and unhinged, perceiving another
Light, knowing bliss amongst the gods.
In death, I had transformed, jeweled eyes,
Scales for skin, serpentine female form,
Attuned to voices divine, gift of prophesy,
Seer of mysteries hideous and sublime.

Such was the curse of Lamia, refashioned by
Zeus’ godly degree, to overcome dismal
Grief, she lost her worldly eyes for limned
Lenses transcending earth’s prismed light,
Elevated senses and charms to reckon fates
And furies, enmeshing minds of others lost
In childless plight, eternal pained despair.

The classical meaning of demon or diamon was a benevolent or benign spirit between mortals and gods, living and dead, a winged voice warning about danger.

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