Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Joy V. Sheridan & David Russell write

Quest Triste
Section 7

Alas, darkest Nemesis engulfed fair Aphrodite, 
The trials she had imposed to make Meckelle mighty 
Were now on herself turned, so godhead essence 
Sadly became a tortuous quintessence. 
By Zeus's edict, the harpies, fortified with strength centupled 
Did sweep her from her calm, ethereal plane, uncoupled 
From her beauteous nature, divine grace; 
They did sweep her most cruelly from her place. 
Their parchment-cordoned wings did chain her, fainting 
Upon Vesuvius's mouth. Her form turned to acrid vapour, 
How she's sighing for the South!

This vaporous change, in one fell swoop, 

Dissolved the harpies' boom, 
Transmuted to a resinous ooze, and nurture plants of gloom. 
Now Pluto drew a breath, inhaled the stench: it made him retch. 
He'd changed fair Aphrodite's essence, and now he felt a wretch. 
Her beauty he desired, and yet was fired 
With ovens of malevolence and greed; 
He wanted her to fulfill his every need. 
Then, within an inky cavern, with drops of Acheron, 
Dank algae, slime, vile lichen and poisonous plankton -
Perching about her, leering, the Eumenides sneered and mouthed
Charged with a double mission: that of Pluto, that of Zeus 

Whole darkness, purest light. 
By Pluto they were appointed, for one full moon, 
For one great task, one which would surely cause 
A gaping fissure in his mask: 
Clear-fronted when Divinities were in balance.

Atop that Cyclopean Chamber, there did float a pair of scales, 

And in each pan, the forms of Aphrodite and Meckelle. 
"By you he is outweighed!" So loud the jury chanted: 
"We must redress the balance, and see who has recanted." 
The scales sank lower, flagstones of the cavern's seeming floor 
Now parted, showing yet a deeper closet, 
Down to which they bore, 
Calling forth the thickest fumes 
And the greenest sulphurous flames 
In which the air did bare the total roster of their names. 
Ghoulish guardians ran in cackling circles, 
Each prisoner was bound. 
Aphrodite to Meckelle did look, pure gaze, without a sound. 
The chorus took to voice:

"Oh Aphrodite, from Sybil you took dark songs and spells, 

Denying your Divinity, to mould and shape Meckelle. 
Therefore with Sybil's potions and our flames you'll be restored. 
You are Love, Meckelle is your familiar: all hatred is abhorred." 
She, knowing that the mainspring of her being was True Love 
Made no struggle, jumped no desperate leap, 
But merely looked above; so calmly she awaited 
That great cauldron hanging there, both pushed and drawn, 
Not dropping, as the scales were weighted fair 
The leering shares then wielded high a gigantic bronze ladle 
With runic signs engraved: what potion in this cradle?

She bowed, her mouth agape, to take in that vile, dread fluid, 

Of reptiles, frogs and toads, of vampires' bladders, 
Enhanced by cruel incantations, murderous murmurings, slime-laced jibes, 
It flamed and coursed all through her veins, burning her insides. 
All torment with the Hydra, 
Strife with Nature's sad excrescences 
Suffused her entire being, qll pain in purest essences.
Her nerves, her heart, her spirit, did in resignation moan:
"It's done!" she cried, "so now I go; so now I go alone."

All of Meckelle's escapes became her chains, 

Alone she suffered all those tortuous pains, 
She begged for no relenting, as conscious she remained; 
The flames surged higher, keener, as she slowly was unchained, 
Casting off her opaque dross till all the Aeons she did cross. 
The shade of a calcium frame, girt with thin shadows, 
Towered for an instant, then sank to the shallows. 

Sweet vapours now inverted all the former cloud's effects 

Struck terror in Eumenides' hearts, did force them to deflect: 
To them all fragrance was anathema! 
They scampered, cackling, screaming: now terror, not Euphoria! 
And she, no longer pushed or blown, did rise; 
Assumed a cirrus form, no longer Pluto's fairest prize.

Across the cirillium-blue bolt of sky her form did fly, 

With merest hint of human visage, 
Beamed blessings on the brave Meckelle, 
Who had almost come of age. 
His boat mote-like beneath her, their mission quite fulfilled, 
To turn Phelisias to his truest form - almost annihilated, nilled, 
Wet, low-wormed  cuttlefish, to slither with no point: 
He who thought he had known every limb, nerve and joint.

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