"Flora," Louise Vigee Le Brun, Musée des Beaux Arts, Bordeaux, for this poem, Thera.
“Flora,” Louise Vigee Le Brun, Musée des Beaux Arts, Bordeaux, for this poem, Thera.

Thera’s spiritual awakening came gradually,
Visions and realizations, divine statements,
Concerns of parents, followers of Demeter.
On milk, bread, and honey, Thera was raised,
Embroidered fillet she wore, flowers hair
Entwined, professing sights beyond modest
Gaze of sheltered eyes.

Her mind between mountain temples, waving
Wheat, Thera enjoyed innocent sunny days,
Solitude amongst blossoming almond trees,
Until family fountain lights appeared, she fell
Prostrate to Demeter’s welling figure, metamor-
Phosis from contented seedling child to mind
God-touched, songs on airy heights ascended.

“By Demeter’s divine love, we celebrate joyous
Banquets,” Thera chanted, “her servants field
Caring beneath holy sun. By graces divine and
By our working hands, harvest plenty and feasts
Given, prayers we sing, sacrifices made.” Year-
Ling lambs and pigs by knife were slain, blood
Spilt to Demeter’s temple altar bowls.

Priests entrails read, prophesies for harvests
Next, sacrificial flames, smoke cloud-rising to
Knowing Goddess. Consecrated child, Thera
Gave vows amongst aspéd porticos: charity,
Chastity, and obedience to blesséd gods, to
Temple holy naos she remained, Demeter
Speaking to Thera’s receptive mind.

“Maiden of barley fields and olive groves, hide
Not behind my sacred plow, life amongst the
World return, to thine family be true, listen
For my guidance in wheat wind-waving.” Eyes
And hair sun-burnished, Thera, stepped from
Temple sanctuary, earth-walking, sky-touching,
Following sacred Eleusinian Mysteries.

Blessed by immortal gods, Thera, brought life
To barren hillsides, verdant fields growing,
Rain and sunlight, hair in garlands glowing,
Guiding farmer’s plowing fields, seed sowing,
“Demeter’s Meadow Maiden” she was called,
Praying and wind-listening, singing praise,
Wresting growth from depths of fertile earth.

Whilst Greek antiquity has long faded, sun
Rises on Attic pasturelands, warming olive
Groves and barley fields, divine spirits sing,
Thera’s breeze-songs are life giving, season
Changing, famers turning ground, enticing
Seeds to sprout, scudding rain clouds, giving
Praise to Demeter and her “Meadow Maiden.”

This poem was inspired by “Homeric Hymn to Demeter.”
For more on these hymns, see this link:

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