Hymn to Artemis Alexandria

Scott B Wilson

O Muse from Parnassian peak, inspire my words to the daughter of Zeus

Let me speak to the Lady with beauty and clarity and humility

Dearest Lady, these are the words I owe to You:

 

Artemis, far-shooting sister to the radiant God of my fathers,

You who were known to the Romans and Aricians as Diana,

brought to their rugged hills by Orestes from the Tauric shore,

although others sought You under eternal oaks long before

Many see You as huntress and virgin who dwells

far from mortal men where only beasts may survive,

but You are so much more and are known far and wide

 

Helper of Children, You kept my youthful innocence intact

and taught me about Nature’s ways, neither cruel nor kind

Gentle and Soothing, Leader of the Nymphs, Your trees

and creeks were my sanctuaries and sources of comfort

You guided me to save dogs and cats hungry and alone

You guided me to spare a baby bird from spinning wheels

You guided me to crush a suffering squirrel’s skull

 

Goddess of the Lake, Goddess of the River

Goddess of the Marsh, Goddess of the Coast

Goddess of the Harbor, Goddess of Islands Remote

 

‘Great is Artemis of Ephesus’, I echo biblical words

shouted by devoted cities before their towers fell

Queen of the Beasts and Protector of the Walls,

citadel-crowned and adorned with honeybees,

Mother of the Highest Point, the Safest Place

You stroke the soft manes of lions, teeth still bloody,

and rest Your heels upon the backs of castrated bulls

 

Lady of All Things Wild, even in the desert You roam

Among darkened tombs and monoliths You wander,

between oases trailing dusty caravans

golden lion, sand cat, tearer of flesh

Hatsepshut called You Pakhet,

watching over her daughter as

You guard Your own kittens

 

Goddess of the Fire, Goddess of the Itching Skin

Goddess of the Foaming Mouth, Goddess of the Bite

 

Wearing vulpine pelt and Freedom’s cap,

Thracians once addressed You as Bendis

In that land of witches and wild tribes,

You shine a blazing torch in each hand

to illuminate herbs that harm, hinder, or heal

In high boots and bearskin, You lead leaping

hares and walk the sky brightly as the Moon

 

Queen of Three Worlds who waits at the forked path

where all decisions give birth to future consequence,

the Mysteries gave You many names

Romans knew You as Diana, Hecate

and Proserpine standing side by side,

serpents in Your hair and

hounds at Your feet

 

Goddess of the Guiding Lights, Goddess of Roads,

Goddess of Gates, Goddess of the Funeral Rites

 

Artemis, daughter of gentle Leto and friend to noble Herakles,

they now honor You around the world and in varied ways

from Munich to Dublin to Prague to Antwerp to Ankara

from London to Barcelona to Paris to Naples to Athens

from Singapore to Bangkok to Tokyo to Rio to San Juan

from Sydney to Cape Town to Toronto to San Francisco

from Lisbon to Toledo to Calgary to Atlanta to Hatfield

from Minneapolis to Kalamazoo to Kingston to Istanbul

from Cambridge to Miami to Las Vegas to Denver to D.C.

from Eugene to Lombard to Leesburg to Baltimore to Buffalo

from Peabody to Portland to Durham to Albuquerque to Austin

 

Goddess of Lycia, Goddess of Arcadia,

Goddess of Siracusa, Goddess of Nemi

I ask for nothing but Your confidence

 

Goddess of the Appalachians, Goddess of the Apennines

Goddess of the Alpheios, Goddess of the Potomac

 

Cynthia, Melissa, Delia, Alexandria,

I thank You

 

(dedicated to the New Alexandrians)

 

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