Artemis at Ephesus

The Nazarines came silently that night,
prised up some blackened paving stones and lay
two statues of Diana deep inside
a niche beneath the floor. No one knows why
they chose to set their lives at risk. The guide
believed that band of part-time pagans might
have thought the hidden statuettes could call
the Huntress home to Ephesus again
and then remind the grieving Goddess there
were people here who still remembered when
her spirit lit the corners of their world.

Perhaps
one day in some far distant era when
our minds begin to open we might meet
that furtive group of distant Christians who
scraped out a niche between those smoking tiles
that night in Ephesus. We’ll talk awhile,
perhaps.
Not easily at first we’ll need to set
some bigoted beliefs aside and then
turn back to older things – a sense of debt,
of loss, of history gone, of honours due
to Dei ties who lived when people prayed
at other, half-forgotten altars. No,
we won’t speak straight away. But then – one day,
perhaps.

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