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Kybele’s Naiads

August 29, 2011

This is the other item that stuck in my head after finish Ovid’s Metamorphoses (translation by Charles Martin).  Something isn’t quite right with my telling of it,  but I’m not sure what.  I may need to visit it at another time.

* * * * * * *

A powerful ally had they,
the Trojan ships of Aeneas.
The Mother of the Gods, no less.
For when the Rutulians flung
greedy torches at hulls of pine,
She recalled their holy source
Her very own grove on Mt. Ida.

So with the shrill of flutes
and the loud clash of cymbals
Kybele flew to their rescue
in her lion drawn chariot
screaming, “sacrilege shall not
devour my holy limbs.”

The goddess’s words
became drumming thunder
followed by dancing hailstones
intermixing with stomping rain.
Winds, warring like brothers,
brought tumult and confusion.

“You! Bring me those ropes!”,
She commanded the angry winds.
Using these lines the Lady forced
the burning ships to plunge
deep into Poseidon’s realm
where no ships should go.

Blue painted wood became flesh,
prows curved into heads,
oars shifted into long lithe legs,
while keels grew into spines,
lines split into flowing locks and
sail yards developed into arms.

Where frightened ships were
now only blue naiads are seen
cavorting gaily in the sea.
Born on a mountain side,
but forever more found
in the watery deep.

This is why young sailor,
Naiads help ships at sea,
as they remember the dangers.
But They are also angry still.
Sail not upon Greek ships
Or an early grave you will have.

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