Eldest and Youngest

This hymn to Hestia references her title as “Oldest and Youngest,” which comes from her being the first-born of Rhea and Kronos’s children, and thus the first swallowed and last vomited up by Kronos, by associating it with the idea that fire and hearth-keeping are an eternal part of the human experience.

“Eldest and Youngest”
29 Jan 2019, in Hyattsville, Maryland

Great Lady, who was born both first and last,
Who welcomes all to sit around her fire,
And hosts and feeds the small and great alike:
We praise you as we light our altar flames.

You came among us when, in ancient days,
We caught high Heaven’s fire in circled stones,
And tamed it just enough to cook our meals,
And guard us through the long savanna nights.

Although we wandered to the furthest shores,
Your fire burned wherever we made camp:
Our home was always there, close by your side,
Among the glaciers and the desert sands.

Today, within our walls of brick and steel,
We celebrate your birth each day anew,
As stoves and furnaces and bright-lit lamps
Still mark our homes around this settled world.