"Shepherd and His Flock," Charles Jacque, 1875, WikiArt photo.
“Shepherd and His Flock,” Charles Jacque, 1875, WikiArt photo.

Movement of Œtean mountains, trembling
Seas, shifting of rocky earth, upwelling
Thermal founts, for Shepherdess Iola time
Unbraided, shield of metamorphic rock
Exposed, ancient tomb opened, archaic
Deity revealed, Ophion, ruled the Cosmos,
When sky, earth, and sea flowed as one.

Childless god, Ophion, touched maiden Iola’s
Mind, sepulchered mist rising, released from
Age-stricken death, stony seeds in her psyche
Sown, transparent eyes captured light, divine
Chants transcending fate and doom, Ophion
Walked again within consciousness of young
Shepherdess, his godly presence restored.

With Ophion’s return, sky, waves, and sand
Embraced, mingled and merged as pastel hues
Transformed. Healing thermal waters arose
From fractured stone, flowers along coursing
Streams bloomed, mind bewildered Iola
Beheld ancient past, before spruce forests
Crowned her pastoral mountain home.

Father and daughter as one, they too melded
And flowed as music of lute and lyre, eyes
Streaming knowing light, union of thought,
Wisdom more precious than gold, they led
Humble shepherd-folk, guided them to healing
Springs, warmth of bubbling balms, winding
Stone pathways and shrines pilgrims built.

"sky, waves, and sand Embraced, mingled and merged as pastel hues transformed."
“Sky, waves, and sand
Embraced, mingled and merged as pastel hues…”

Sheep-tending sages, Ophion-Iola spoke with
Oracular light, stone tablets their followers
Inscribed, guiding maxims: worship gods, praise
Goodness and virtue, seek wisdom, the future
Foresee. Decades they taught and healed, earth,
Sky and seas embodied as one until in brittle age,
God and mortal pairing returned to stone grave.

Written in the spirit of Catullus, Shepherdess Iola is a
recurring poetic figure who tends sheep in mountains
of ancient Greece. The maxims refer to those attributed
to Apollo and Greek sages at Temple of Apollo at Delphi.  

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