From leagues away, pilgrims arriving by sea
Can distantly, squintingly view the island of light:
A triangular white bluff floating on blue waters.
When their ships pull into the clear and shallow harbor,
Brilliance round about reminds them this is not a mortal’s home;
With all their incense and ablutions, they cleanse Delos only by leaving.
A businessman embarking from Alexandria
Approaches (climbing the hill before him) a temple
To Isis, transplanted here to promote good trade.
The oracular believer will walk past the market
And down the wide boulevard of orderliness to columns
That command the heart, the central Temple to Apollo.
Eyes and hearts lift to the godly glory that is Greece
In a holy pavilion, its clay tiles baked with art-official colors,
Centered at harmonic geometric Cycladic reputation.
Twelve loyal royal lions protect the sacred marsh
Where the mistress of Zeus gave folkloric birth beneath a palm
To the twin divine spawns Artemis and, then, Apollo.
The reeds and mud mark the manger-crib-nest where deity
And woman gave the shining isle its exiled Olympians,
Planting their names atop the index of ancient mythology.
Pilgrims have stepped on hallowed dust.
Soon, the sun sinking, it's time to leave.
- Richard Hacken (September 2012)