“Loading Marble,” Nikolai Ge, 1868, WikiArt.

Before protecting temples of Samothrace,
I knew neither life nor death, yet I was twice
Created, from earth-forming furnace, and by
Sculptor’s skilled hands. Before hammer and
Chisel released me from caverned catacombs,
Existence was without face or feature, dark-
Epochs, deific blasting breath, molten island
Rock coalescing, solidified into living stone,
No higher purpose attained.

Gods’ glory, men to Greek Paros Island sailed,
Hundreds with skills and tools to bear, sun-
Gleaming marble revealed, master-builder’s
Designs, hand-cut blocks unchained, sea spray
And sunlight-released upon sailing ships. Thus
Was my new beginning. Alas! As if arrow-stuck,
Prayers and pains, movement across – not
Under eternal mounts – sent tremors rumbling
Across Ægean isles.

By master’s hammer and chisel, from marble
Slab I arose, broad wings raised to stars, dust
From which first conceived, I stood as votaress
Rivaling sun, indebted as I was to agonies
Of mortal sweat and blood, files and chisels
Lovingly applied by coarse hands, as paint on
Gliding brush. Breath taking, blood coursing,
Soul-awakening spells, I became epitome of
Victorious wingéd flight in stone.

“Winged Victory,” Louvre Museum, Wikimedia, Munford, 2002.

March of decades, temple gates I protected,
Out-living he who had created me, ill-omened
State of being, to warring tribes, ancient cities
Fell. Hammer blows, defaced of head and wings,
I ground-toppled, was rubble-buried, and time-
Lost, another marble face bereft of life. As years
Passed, picks, trowels awakened me, purpose
Renewed, Parian marble sun-shining, “Winged
Victory,” vaulted sunlight at Louvre Museum.

For more on Winged Victory of Samothrace see this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winged_Victory_of_Samothrace 

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