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The Rape of Orithyia

The Rape of Orithyia, mountain gale nymph, by Boreas, god of the north wind, a mytho–poetic interpretation of the wrath of the Goddess and her hand in the devastating Marshall Fire, Colorado 2021.

Orithyia, mountain gale nymph,
No longer whispers her secret sorrows.
She runs down mountain slopes howling.
Rushes through valleys at 100 mph,
Breaking branches and uprooting whole trees.
Her heavy steps fall like thunder on the land,
A million hooves stampede over rooftops.
She is running from the cold North Wind,
Running from her abductor.


Boreas found the maiden by the river,
Praying with rocks and salamanders.
He took her swiftly and by force,
Wrapped her in a cloud to conceal the shameful rape.
Then he mounted her,
Like he mounts mares and sires lightning–fast colts.
His sharp icicle prick punctured her womb
And she bore Khione, “Snow.”


Now the North Wind chases Orithyia down the foothills,
Like winter stalks late autumn.
She grabs a fistful of dry wild grasses.
She holds up a burning torch,
So the violation of her body will be seen,
Will be felt.


Witnesses turn away and become numb to her abduction.
In her fury she “rain[s] flaming fire over the land.” (ENHEDUANNA)
She blazes through hills and towns.
Then Khione, “Snow,” comes to put out the flames of her mother’s body.
Leaving gray and white,
Ash and ice,
Smoldering ground.


Catherine Brooks, 2022

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