Always Silent

June 30, 2010
By LucilleK BRONZE, Mason, Ohio
LucilleK BRONZE, Mason, Ohio
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Cleone steps timidly from beneath the dark shady leaves of the bush and looks around. There is no wind, the sun glares, the air is warm and heavy, sporadic chirping of birds can be heard. She blinks her dark, murk, glassy eyes once. With her stout, scaly, green foot she takes the first of many steps. Onto a little hill, in the midst of this green wood, she is climbing -- slowly, silently. Each footstep is like the gentle dip of a paddle from a rower in his row boat.

Resembling rubble, chalky stones cover the base of the hill. However, if you follow the hill up with your eyes; you see that the stones take symmetry, and the symmetry takes shape, and the shape takes dimension, and the heap of chalky stones has become the remnant of a magnificent temple. Though it is only a remnant, it is magnificent still. The roof is mostly gone, but the solid floor and the pillars remain-- the pillars; marble, long, round, unblemished, and fiercely glorious. In their hugeness and solidity they are symbols of perfection, precision, and detail.

Cleone continues to climb the steps. She reaches the top, and turns to peer at the mountainous terrain from which she came. Many years have passed since she has seen it from this giddy height. She is awed by the rugged exotic beauty of the land. She turns away from the view and proceeds into the temple.

After walking through the forest of pillars for a few minutes, she comes across a large piece of pottery. Detailed images are painted in red face on the piece. The scene is familiar; she looks closer. In the painting she sees a bearded man, holding in one hand what appears to be a multi-beamed rod; with his other he is clasping the hand of a woman. The woman is veiled and wears a diadem, at her feet is a peacock; the woman also seems to be holding something in her free hand, but is cut off were the pot was broken. All around the man and woman there seem to be people celebrating.

By now night has fallen; Cleone crawls onto the base of one of the pillars, folds into herself and goes to sleep. In the middle of the night she wakes. What wakes her? Was it heat, the smell of food or water, wind, a voice? Cleone casts her eyes upward; her cousins, the starry Pleiades are standing afar off and gazing back at her in stern, silent pity. Large tears well in her eyes; she opens her mouth to speak, but nothing comes out but an airy noiseless burp. One of the Pleiades begins to sing.

"Cleone my friend,
you were rash and arrogant,
impudent and proud.
For that you are unforgiven,
your punishment is everlasting.
Because you offended the king of the gods,
you will always live in silence.
The gods act in anger,
they are driven by their own will.
Who should be by when they strike?
Lo, they bear no offense.
Therefore I mourn for you Cleone
and I take warning at your fate.
May all walk wisely before the gods
and live well."

Morning comes at last, welcomed by a cool breeze. Not a sound is heard; however, if you had the ears of an eagle you could hear the muffled noise of Cleone’s padded feet breaking the distances as she descends back into the woods.

The author's comments:
I was inspired to write this piece of prose after reading about Cleone whom, in Greek mythology, was turned into a tortoise after refusing to attend Zeus and Hera's wedding.

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