"Spring Spreads One Green Lap of Flowers," John William Waterhouse, 1910, WikiArt photo.
“Spring Spreads One Green Lap of Flowers,” John William Waterhouse, 1910, WikiArt photo.

Upon pointed-pines of Achæa, Ariel raised her
Beaming eyes, sipped from flowered-mantled
Streams, marveled at wooded coombes, ruins
Of an ancient village and broken marble torso,
Legs half-sunk in rippling pool, inscription on
Pedestal of shattered visage, “Sacred to the
Goddess,” words touching Ariel’s pliant mind.

“Protect me and this village,” Ariel heard, wind-
Voices echoing on high hills, Goddess broken
To marble fragments, ravages of earthquake or
War. Yet, deific hair was water-flowing, eyes
Meteor bright, suspended between life and death
Since destruction of Achæa, farmlands blighted
Beyond reason or recount.

In prayers and reverence, Ariel waded streams of
Blossoming flowers, collecting marble arms and
Legs, head and torso of the goddess, amassing
Holy pieces, except the pedestal, she beckoned
Shepherds for an oxen cart. To rocky glen, Ariel
Reassembled the statue, her pedestal placed on
Flat rocks at foot of cascading falls.

Next, began bonding, birch resin, animal fat,
Caulk of powdery stone, adhesive mix making
Marble pedestal fast to stone, attaching arms
And legs, head to amour-girdled torso, rebirth
Of Demeter, completed statue sacred to the
Goddess. Ariel wove coloured fillets to goddess’
Brown and flowing hair, offerings of grain.

Once laid waste, sown fields flourished, farm
Beasts grew and reproduced, sacrifices to goddess
In rustic ceremonies, worship and praise, crops
Grown and harvested without disease or blight,
Wine of grapes, bread blessed, prosperity and
Health restored to ancient Achæa, thanks
Given to Ariel, shepherdess of distant clans.

"The Shepherdess," William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1873, WikiArt photo.
“The Shepherdess,” William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1873, WikiArt photo.

Weeks of wandering wilds, Ariel returned to
Shepherd family, no memory of forest-clad hills,
Except giving hands, hers to Demeter’s stream-
Lost for ages. Flower blossoms floating in potter-
Glazed bowls, Ariel’s heart sang brighter songs,
In tongues holy and foreign, incantations and
Prayers raised sacred to the goddess.

In this poem, Ariel is personification of water and rebirth,
restoring Demeter to fields and farmlands. Could Ariel
be personification of Demeter, whose ancient cult name
 Achæa. For more on adhesives from antiquity,
see this link.  

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