"Sleep and his Half Brother Death," John W. Waterhouse, 1874, WikiArt photo.
“Sleep and his Half Brother Death,” John W. Waterhouse, 1874, WikiArt photo.

Part 2: Procession of Dead

Procession of dead at our doors, each
Yearning for moments of renewed life,
Resting amongst us, on blanket pallets
Sleeping, humble joys of fruit, figs, and
Baked breads, water-wine, yet to dead,
These dreams were sea-denied. As bodies
Washed ashore, Althea became crazed,
Resurrection rites by light of funeral fires.

Aimless and forlorn, dead followed Althea
From house to shore, back again, slipping
Skin, eyes receding, dragging swords and
Spears, shields and armor slung by sides,
Neither dead nor alive, fixed on Althea’s
Every step until flesh fell away, such
Pale struggling prolonged their miseries,
Pilgrimage to ancient healing shrine.

O! Revolving time, young girl’s kiss raised
Sea dead, fathers, husbands, bridegrooms,
Eternal grip affrayed, for now these souls
Of warring unrest wept their woes. Sipped
From Lethe’s waters, they had forgotten
All, except for now, they were raised from
Dead by Althea or Aletheia, unforgetfulness,
Eternity and being fixed immovably as one.

To sacred springs, Althea and resurrected
Bodies proceeded, stench of squalor and
Decay, winding mountain paths to where
Healing waters gushed from living stone,
Visited by ancients, rites of renewal, they
Cast votive offerings: figurines and pottery,
Something of themselves each sea-fallen
Provided: bone, sinew, maggot-matted hair.

"Charon Carries Dead Souls," Konstantin Makovsky, 1861, WikiArt photo.
“Charon Carries Dead Souls,” Konstantin Makovsky, 1861, WikiArt photo.

Young Lydus reached within his rotting
Torso, breastbone he withdrew, above
His lurid heart, into abounding springs,
Bubbling to depths, Lydus dissolved,
Brittle bones given to thin air, comrades
Following, each to æther ascended, as did
Althea, who offered locks of hair, fiery
Child, to immortal gods she returned.

For more on River of Lethe, see this link.
See this link for more on shrine at Keros Island.

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