Aphrodite Soteira

common myrtle

common myrtle

Told by a friend to a friend about a friend…
A long time ago, in a time far away
A merchant made a fortunate find
in the last port before homeward bound.
Archaic in style and only a span high
A statuette of Aphrodite,
Patroness of Naukratis, his home town.

Carefully wrapped in rugs
tied securely to the main mast
the holds being too full
with bounty from other ports.
The ship set sail
the crew joyously heading home.

Near Egypt, the sky started to storm
the seas started to pitch and boil.
Was it Zeus and Poseidon trading blows?
Or did the sailors forget their offerings?
It matters not, all that matters is the now.
The ship was rocked and tossed,
It was sent up and it was sent down.
It was waved from side to side.
The motion of the ship was so violent
that even the hardiest sailor became sick.

Huddled near the main mast,
Both merchant and crew found themselves
Sick, miserable and afraid.
Visible was the statue
The rugs inexplicably gone.
Oh Aphrodite Euploia, Oh Aphrodite Pontia
Save us from the water depths.
We are your children from Naukratis
Oh Aphrodite Eiplimenia
Deliver us safely home!

Before their very eyes,
the ropes became green myrtle
scenting the air so sweetly
that their stomachs became calm
as did the raging sea and sky.
As the sun warmed their skin
their spirits did rise
for to home, to loved ones
they would return!

As soon as the ship came to rest
in their beloved home port
reverently the Merchant rushed
the savior image and myrtle boughs
to her temple near the docks.
There he gave offerings of thanks
for a safe home coming,
dedicating the statuette to the temple.

A feast of thanksgiving he then threw
for friends, family and crew
in the temple of Aphrodite
Giving out garlands of the sweet myrtle
That adorned the ship
Calling them Naukratite
And praising Aphrodite’s name.

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