“Suburbs of Ancient City,” John Varley, 1808, WikiArt.

Part 1: Waterfall Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage of prayer and faith, father and
I, Tizmay, foot-traveled amongst willows
Wind-waving, birds singing, clear streams
Flowing, morning sun, mist-rising clouds,
Heaven’s sphere earth touching, uphill
Climb, narrow hand-hewn steps, place of
Mystery, dreams we strove, marble terrace,
Laurel boughs overgrown, edifice upward
Rising ground to sky. “What do you see?”
Father asked. “Stone rivulets outpouring
Or time-frozen waterfall?” His agéd eyes
Perceived legend I was yet to learn.

First glance, rippled stone appeared, yet
Luminous opalescence caught my eyes,
Flowing water, living spring unwelling,
Melodic voices emanating, orphic hymns
Stone rising. “It lives, breathes, sings,”
I realized. “Why is no altar, temple here?”
Thus was legend, if not myth, goddess,
Priestess, attendants, all constellated.
“For what affront?” Entangled laurels
Concealed evidence of banishment,
Decades past, higher deific forces had
Decreed, destruction of orphic temple.

“Day we lost oracular guidance,” stated
Father. “My father’s father remembers when
Cloudborne heights, thunderbolts fell,
All temple present transformed to stone.”
Unspoken truth they disclosed on temples
Steps: Difference between gods and mortals
Breath thin, two sides of coin, one reflection
Of the other. Alas! Lightning flash, their
Souls became immortalized, sisters skyward-
Cast, winter’s bright-beaming light. “Father
What do you believe?” I asked, in innocence,
No deific defilement intended.

“Portrait of Young Woman as Sibyl,” Angelica Kauffman, WikiArt.

“What you perceived, Tizmay, proclaims
Your beliefs, validity of the goddess,” father
Replied. “Known by many names, all unstated
Along Attic village shores.” Stick broken from
Sanguine-dripping laurel branch, name he
Sand-inscribed: Theia. O! Beauteous buds
Bursting forth, sweet refrains to ears, sisters
Twain to stars and vines, Theia’s priestess
Yet remained, protecting papyri-written
Verses, sequestered from eyes, hearts of
Men. “Your intentions?” father asked. “To
Unearth this temple and its orphic hymns.”

What mysteries or guidance will orphic hymns reveal?
First, laurel 
entanglement must be cleared.
Thanks for reading.

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