“Nurturer of Jupiter,” D. Jeffery Mims, WikiArt.

Part 1: Ancient Arbiters

As children, we were forbidden to visit or
To speak of ancient ruins, stone steps rising
Mountain heights, oft cloud-lost, except
Primordial chorus beckoned me, Tizmay,
Strains of lute and lyre, my heart aflame,
Sunrise prayers, repeating, summit drifting,
They called me by name, disobedience to
Parents or follow bidding of golden-throated
Song. In pale moonlight, breasts I bared,
“O! Silver orb take me,” I sang aloud, gown
Falling to sandaled feet, footsteps following
Where deific refrains would lead.

Decision made, powerless resisting mountain
Thunder-tops, lightning, clarion voices within,
Eldest deities, starry train, self-proclaimed,
Ancient Arbiters. First of hand-hewn steps
I took, effortless climb, perplexed as how
History-lost generations brought hammer,
Chisel to this holy shrine, families labour-
Pressed, mother’s bearing children, lives
Occupied unearthing stone, shaping
Ascending steps, many etched with solar
Signs, star symbols, petitions, prayers.

Yet, naked I climbed, hair unbound, fillets
Windswept-lost, each tier more difficult,
Disappearing into moon-limned cloud, images
Mind-confusing, fields of battle, life-blood
Hot-pulsing from arteries, floods, disease,
Bane to race of fighting men. I suffered as
Thousands did, weeping wounds, death-grief,
Miseries of body, soul. Lo! Some steps waist-
High, edges sharp, water-slickened, downward
Slanting, slip of sandaled foot, hand grip lost,
Precipice death falling. Moments rested, moon
Ever-watchful, dark descended, so, I too was
Beset in shrouded night foreboding.

“Arch of Nero,” Thomas Cole, 1846, WikiArt.

Into opaque hours, I struggled, no candlelight
Guiding me, aside overhead lightning clouds,
Deific choirs resonating, past thoughts, heights
Ever dreamt, young woman in bared-flesh
Presence of divine, upward gazing, desert
Archway I perceived, two words inscribed,
Deific warning: “Forget, Remember,” cobble
Road leading to mud-brick citadel, voices mind-
Echoing, “Return or enter, winding stair-
Case, Temple of Bones.” Under beating sun,
Sandals removed, naked I, Tizmay, strove,
Nothing from ancient gods concealed, my
Maiden frame and heart to them exposed.

New Tizmay poetic series, she confronts ancient gods, warning
“Forget, Remember” fates cast both ways. Thanks for reading.

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