“Lycinna,’ John William Godward, 1918, WikiArt.

From humble families, mountain stone
Cottages, I grew as maiden shepherdess,
Flocks of meadow-moving music, ringing
In eternal unison to radiant clouds, hymns
And prayers heard by goddesses and gods,
Upward spiraling, flowered-valley vistas,
Distant peaks, breathless purple air. Was
Such dream, illness, or death? In fearful
Faith, I gave myself to light.

Ascending atmosphere, vaporous light of
Clouds, beaming solar-rays, eyes unveiled
In heaven’s height, I am amongst days, time-
Lost and unnumbered, before antiquity,
Heroic faces and names, when deific minds
Mixed with mortals, children with no wings,
Words spoken in parables and riddles, I am
Beyond alive, my soul gird in radiance,
Released as flower petals. Her golden shield
Unslung, I am goddess-greeted and adored.

Standing upon grassy mountain brow, I am
Both guided and guiding, to rest upon her
Couch, strains of lyrical songs, timbre of
Flutes and horns, I know nothing and every-
Thing, for with one touch, one glimpse divine,
I behold fields and farms, my robe undone,
Hair fire-flowing, In her presence, I stand
Naked, milking breasts, womb of creation,
Flesh and blood of field beasts, life flowing
In waterfalls, in fountained streams.

“At Gate of the Temple,” John William Godward, 1898, Wikimedia.

Lo! What marble shrine is adequate for praise
And offerings, reverence and sanctity, such
Gifts of flowers, figs, fish, grains, wine ground-
Spilt are but brass to silver goddess, yet she
Accepts all, growing grass blades more precious
Than those of swords. Alas! To what purpose
Do I yield to clarion call? This dewy morn, my
Mind and sight transformed, seeds and harvest,
Sun-warming earth, I am Ohndrea, priestess of
Demeter, life-memories obscured, creation anew.

Written in spirit of Ovid’s “The Fasti.”
Hopefully, this poem “bear[s] a remnant and chaotic trace…”
Poem of transformation, shepherdess to priestess of Demeter.
For more on Demeter see this link:

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