“Stormy Sea with Shipwreck,” Marcus Larson, 1857, WikiArt.

Lone survivor, merchant shipwreck, entangled in
Sinking sails, rigging, depths of Ægean seas, certain
Death amongst toppled columns, collapsed temple,
Ancient city, 100 fathoms from island shores. Fishers,
Merchants,  drowned like myself, grieving families,
Seaweed-streaming broken ships, amphorae silent-
Awaiting, intact in wooden racks, flesh and memories
Brine-dissolved. In moments, life-meaning realized,
Fears wave-washed, soul from body released. Thus,
I floated lifeless amongst earthquake-sunken ruins.

Life’s spark returned, upward-swirling bubbles from
Temple door, mysterious air I breathed, currents pull-
Pushing to sunlit life-saving air. Suspended between
Sea and sky, I cough-awakened, face-down in lapping
Surf, foreign island strands, white-robed figure greeted
Me by name: Oreias, my deliverer you will become.
Was this question or deific decree? Lo! Mariners knew
Sea legends, white-wingéd women, dolphin-riding
Oceanids and Nereides, many benevolent to seafaring-
Kind, some not. Sea entity offered one name: Galene.

Life I owed to her, where dozen men had perished,
Cargo of wine and olive oil, two-mast ship drifted to
Ægean Sea depths. How may I repay you?” Name,
Galene, foreign to my ears, I knew not how to address
her, eyes reflecting my respect, sea-deep disappoint-
Ment. Upon broad stones we sat in silence, one beside
The other, cresting waves quieting at her feet. “Oreias,
Surprised you know me not,” she began, voice wind-
Stilling, “I am goddess of calm seas, archaic ages,
My stone temple earthquake destroyed.”

“Lidylle,” William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1850, WikiArt.

Lo! Her liquid eyes poured into mine, secret thoughts
Conveyed, goddess suspected Poseidon’s scorn, her
Temple destroyed by his earth-shaking hand, all seas
His domain. “How may I serve you, goddess?” Single
Tear she wept, with one finger, I swept away, to lips
Tasted, how I beheld her divine face and frame,
Fragrant bosom bare, heavenly heights we entwined,
Man and goddess. O! Dawning beams, foam-streaked
Seas, my mind so enlightened, yet to earth she fell,
Mortal woman, without regrets or vows, companions
We became, her name, Thalaisa, one borne from sea.

Apotheosis, or glorification or elevation of mortal to divine, was accepted
during classical times. On occasion, reverse was true, by self-decision or
circumstance, the god or goddess became mortal. Mechanisms in this
poem m
ay suggest Galene’s plans from the beginning, or did they occur
happenstance. For more on Galene see this link:
Thanks for reading.

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