Artemis of Ephesus

The news that Hagia Sophia possibly contains eight green marble columns from the temple of Artemis at Ephesus reminded me of this poem I wrote in 2008.

Artemis of the Ephesians

Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!
Her many breasts, the Anatolian hills
giving forth the sweetness of fragrant spices.
Her many names resounding in the streets
and temples of Ephesus where women
call to Her, calling Her name to the night.

Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!
The milk from Her breasts abundantly fills
the thirsty earth, and its scent entices
shy beasts of the hills to taste of its sweets
at twilight, like the Amazon women
who by Achilles’ shade were put to flight.

Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!
Her aura, the golden light of dawn on the hills,
the gleam of silver under the hammer
of a smith forging Her image, who taps
his hammer to an archaic music
out of a forgotten and nameless rite.

Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!
She lies in the furrow where the plough tills
the moist earth. Her cries are heard in the yammer
of small birds in spring, and the rising sap
is the leap of Her heart, the ancient magic
of the love of the Earth for the Sun’s light.

© Yvonne Aburrow
7 am, 28 June, 2008

When I wrote this I picked the Anatolian Hills as being a range of hills in Turkey, without knowing what they looked like. I searched for a picture of them and found they look pointy, rather like the breasts of Artemis of Ephesus.

The first line of each stanza comes from the speech of Demetrios the silversmith recorded in Acts 19: 28, where it is claimed that he was only concerned for the loss of his livelihood. What rubbish! It is also recorded that he gave a rousing speech, which must have been convincing in order to encourage the silversmiths to shout for two hours; and to be convincing it must have been about more than the loss of livelihood. The demise of ancient pagan religion was the loss of a whole philosophy and way of life, not just livelihood.

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