"Autumn: Vintage Festival," Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1877, WikiArt photo, for this poem Lexine.
“Autumn: Vintage Festival,” Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1877, WikiArt photo, for this poem Lexine.

Part 1: Dionysian Mysteries

Attic woman of farming families, Lexine was
Born into Dionysian mysteries, year 110 A.D.,
Partaking in ancient rites of Dionysus and
Semele, death and rebirth, wine and grains,
Glazed-eyed trances, nude dancing, evoking
Ritual ecstasy, her mind elevated to divine,
One with deathless gods she worshipped.
 

By music of lute and lyre, Lexine and followers
Paraded in unwearying bliss, amongst olive
Groves, pomegranate trees, upon soft-flowered
Pastures. O! Light of moon and stars, wine
Intoxication, hearts raced, mortal spirits soared.
Faces faded in fevered passions bent to mystical
Seed-sowing harmonies.
 

From flaming night Æther rose, spirit of im-
Mortal sky Lexine beheld, fluid in nature, god-
Like human form, vaporous cloud, and sacred
Light, she made offerings of fresh fruit, flower
Blooms, prayers at home hearth fires, divine
Purging of sins, deific voices touched her mind,
Pilgrimage to Roman city of Cyrene Libya.
 

By merchant ship, Lexine sailed Ægean Seas,
Cresting waves and pitching brine, baptism of
Salt spume, howling winds, tempests rose,
Clouds descended in roaring swound, masts
Gale-broken, overboard swept was she beyond
Safety of high-mountained shores, wave-washed,
In faith she treaded ocean tides.
 

Four days Lexine rode flotsam swells, between
Life and sea-scorned bobbing dead, neither gods
Nor nereids to persuade by pleading prayers or
Ancient hymns, helmsman steered all but her
To ocean graves, madman who cursed wind and
Ripped the sails, yet divine hands kept Lexine
Alive, current pushed, salvation of island Sicily.

I must go beyond the dark world of sense information to the
clear brilliance of the sunlight of the outside world.” — Plato

Written in spirit of “Homeric Hymns.”
Next is Part 2: Birth of Zalen.

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