"Cupid and Psyche," Edward Burne-Jones, 1867, WikiArt photo.
“Cupid and Psyche,” Edward Burne-Jones, 1867, WikiArt photo.

Part 1: Divine Awakening

Awakened by bells of grazing sheep, Rhete
Lingered amongst forest ferns, rambling
Streams, awaiting Pindus mountain sunrise.
In privacy she bathed, rustic purification
Rites, prayers casting flowers into rushing
Streams, protection of family and flocks,
Morning brightened as sun beamed on hillside
Spruces, misty human form appeared before
Her, reflecting light, blinding eyes, deific
Voice mind-echoing, said, “Follow me.”

Overwhelmed, Rhete collapsed into deep pool,
Descending clear depths, body lifeless-limp,
Hair flowing, darkness drifting, until lifted to
Redeeming light. Again voices aloud stated,
“Follow me.” With two words, understanding
Conveyed, timeless plurality of love and wisdom.
Family and flocks forsaken, Rhete with dog,
Ekho, took paths winding higher into mountains,
Destiny unknown, songs guiding and divine,
Borne upon water-resurrected maiden.

Shepherdess, climbing ascending paths, each
Arduous step prayers for forgiveness and
Strength, resting at rocky fountainhead,
Sipping from springs divine, visions of skies
Ethereal, Rhete’s heart welled with prophetic
Verse. Summit reached amongst thunder-
Clouds, above doubts of faith, mettle tested,
Crucible transforming mortal to voice of
Blesséd gods, her words gathering new
Flocks, followers of her shepherd-fold.

"Forest from the Mountain," Ivan Shishkin, 1895, WikiArt.
“Forest from the Mountain,” Ivan Shishkin, 1895, WikiArt.

Journey not complete, Rhete took windswept
Trails and clifftop ledges, weaving course,
Towering heights above, opaque abyss below,
She followed in obedience, for with each high
Terrace passed, cloud obscured it became,
Winding higher-wider, until sunlight broke,
Pediments of holy temple perceived, columned
Porticoes, rising as much from mist as living
Stone, Rhete’s destination now achieved,
Shepherdess and divine awakening.

Written in spirit of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” this poem is about divine inspiration or awakening, when and how may occur and in what form. For young Rhete, she was touched by divine light and voice,
journey of faith, 
forsaking family and flocks.

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