"Hebe," Antonio Canova, sculpted 1800 - 1805, The State Hermitage Museum, Wikimedia photo.
“Hebe,” Antonio Canova, sculpted 1800 – 1805, The State Hermitage Museum, Wikimedia photo.

Deciphered from ancient parchment, shore-
Lights on Syrmios Isle were wandering souls
Of sailors lost on Ægean Seas, targetiers and
Merchant crews storm-drowned, Greek wars,
Syracusian sail of ships, timbers and mast
Shattered, bodies of men and women, surf
Foundering on desolate rocks.

Who would collect and bury dead? Oft times,
Dozens scattered amongst sea-washed cliffs,
Ægeans escaping ravages of war to die in
Foaming breakers. So great the need that
Warring generals a truce declared twixt Lace-
Demonians and Athenians to burn bodies of
Villagers who took refuge on storming seas.

For funeral pyres, soldiers felled stands of
Regal Syrmios pines, gracing mountain reaches.
At night, fiery glows reached distant sailing
Triremes; by day, smoke rose cloud-height
In pungent death-black plumes, as soldiers
Scattered smoldering coals, ashes, and bones
Across barren thistled ridges.

As legend tells, ghostly specters appeared,
Lamenting strains drifting on moonless nights,
Anguished families separated and sea-lost,
Some held fast by ocean depths, others their
Charred bones thrown asunder sans burial,
Tormented shades caught between realms,
Life-breathing and ascension god-released.

As war receded from Grecian shores, surviving
Families visited death fields, bringing animals
For sacrifice, plants as votive offerings. By
Accident or divine strategy, Thera, daughter
Of an Arcananian farmer, discovered marble
Deposits at Syrmios Mountain, white translu-
Cent stone of unrivaled strength and purity.

While praying upon marble steeps, divine light
Held within touched Thera’s eyes and heart,
Guiding words of Hēbē, daughter of Hera and
Zeus. “On this isle a temple you shall build,”
Stated the youthful goddess to Thera’s mind.
“As my priestess you shall serve to allay
Restless souls, this island of eternal rest.”

Here, writing on treasured parchment fades,
Yet Syrmios Isle exists today, an ancient marble
Quarry, dating 6th century BC, source of stone
For sacred statues, including that of Hēbē,
And Ægean island temples. Like shipwrecked
Souls who ascended heavenly heights, the
Original temple was forever lost from sight.

Social profiles