Somewhat to my embarrassment, given his reputation as a racist proponent of imperialism, I’ve had an attachment to Rudyard Kipling’s poetry since high school. This poem is an attempt to rewrite his “A Song to Mithras” to focus on the four Hellenic goddesses I feel most connected to, and the associations I make between them and different parts of being human. I don’t think I got Kipling’s rhythm quite right, but it’s at least an attempt?
“A Song for Four Goddesses”
23 March 2019 in Catonsville, MD
Artemis, God of the Dawning, you who were there at our birth:
You led us to food and shelter, you led to the ends of the Earth!
Now as the day is breaking, now as we rise yet again,
Artemis, wild huntress, grant us the strength to sustain!
Athena, God of the Noon-tide, who guards us from morn until eve:
You taught us to live together, you taught us to build and to weave!
Now as the many gather, now as we work or fight,
Athena, wisest counselor, guide us to live aright!
Hestia, God of the Sunset, whose flame keeps us safe through the night:
You bring us warmth in the winter, you bring us warmth and light!
Now as the lamps are lighted, now as the cook-fires glow,
Hestia, eldest-and-youngest, bring us together to rest!
Hekate, God of the Midnight, who holds her bright torches high:
You stand guard at the cross-roads, you watch ‘neath the starry sky!
Now as cold shadows gather, now as we wake in a fright,
Hekate, teacher and guardian, keep us safe ’til the light!