Part 2: Papyri Discovered in Collapsed Wall
Second Group of Four Fragments:
Worshiper unrest arose first in Corinth and
Then to Athens spread, holy priests to select
Three amongst them for Cyprus pilgrimage.
Rustic rituals and solemn prayers, burnt
Offerings to gods of Pantheon. First priestess
Was ordained until light divine cast on Ilithya,
Maiden-novitiate, child of Attic farmers, face
Burnished bronze, eyes ablaze with godly sight,
She stepped forward, self-proclaimed, nimbus
Head-glowing. Lo! Ilithya knew not oracular
Incantations nor ceremony, yet to merchant
Sailing ship she boarded, bread and fruit for
Three-day voyage, naive child, venturing
Unprepared on cresting ocean waves.
Amongst shepherds, I remained, oasis and
Son, yet from this temple I would not leave,
My grazing flock satisfied at water’s edge
For I discovered fount of mystic writings,
Beckoning prophesies, solitary figure within
Cooling temple halls, dates and figs, nursing
Son, my brutal past sand-vanquished, by
Visions divine, my destiny was written on
Rolls of ancient papyri.
Of ancient age, some heard of Messenger,
Divine prophet roaming these pasturelands,
Living to old age, body tomb buried, time-
Sealed granite sarcophagus. Light from her
Brow beaming, Kabyrah pilgrimage she would
Take, me accompanying her, she knew not
Where or how. At first light, we struck out on
Foot to sun-gleaming mountain peaks, odyssey
Of elder mother’s skepticism, of youthful
Vision and undaunted faith.
Lo! Water sprang forth from granite face,
Clear-purified by Sylvan light, taste soul-
Refreshing, cleansing. On knees, double-
Cupped my hands, drinking deep thereof,
Thirst relieved at feet of divine presence.
For Berylia, desires were youth yearning,
Crone, age-bent, undressed, fitful laving
As birds in bath, splashing agéd face,
Wizened breasts, limbs bone-thin.
Poetic verses recorded on time-brittle papyri, some found in urns,
lids wax-sealed, others in niche-sealed tombs, temple ruins, after
lost decades, seeing first light of day. Preserve the record.
Preserve the papyri. Thanks for reading.