All Their Voices

Words and thoughts in devotion to the Divine


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Gangleri

No road so long

you haven’t walked it;

no path so obscure

your feet have not trod it.

One never knows where one might find wisdom

in your wanderings.

You keep Your eye open,

and you walking stick ready,

and your stride is strong and swift.

I do not know you

–none of us really knows you—

but there are some things you allow us to understand,

and that there is no trail you will ignore

for fear of missing

the knowledge it might lead to,

that is one thing you have given us to know.

You might meet challenges on the road,

but they are hardly threats,

and those, too,

offer up their own sort of wisdom.

Those who know only of this face of yours

might think you spend

your entire life on the road,

and they would be wrong,

but if the tales are even half-true,

they are not wrong by much,

and it is a worthy attainment.

The roads whisper your name

from the mouths cracked into the pavement

and the cobblestones

and the dust;

they know who owns them

(as we all do)

and when your son’s thunder roars overhead

and the rains pour down,

the hiss of the water against the road

is a prayer to you,

a hymn to your will and your seekings,

and that prayer is one

we all sing in our hearts

every time we emulate you

when our feet touch down

on a path

–no matter if new or old—

to walk it to where we must go.

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Not Just the Flower Child

I am not frozen in time.

Too many of you do not realize

that gods, too, can change and grow;

we are not fixed and unmoving like our marble statues.

I was a child, once, a young woman,

playing in the field of flowers

with the nymphs who served my mother,

but in an instant, that all changed.

Why, then, do so many of you

see me still

—see me only—

as that innocent child?

Do you think that all I have seen,

done, endured, enjoyed

has no power to move or change me?

Evolution is a process

that not even the Deathless Ones

are exempt from.

My lord and my love Hades

brought me down from my mother’s sunlit world

to his dark and chilly realm

where there is only whispering and wails

when there is not silence.

A goodly portion of the year, I sit atop a cold marble throne

instead of warm earth crowned with spring blossoms,

and I see myself garlanded in gems

—or bones—

instead of fragrant blooms.

I am shaped by my home and those who are part of my life:

my somber, solemn husband,

the silent dead,

the shrieking Furies,

and occasionally, laughing Hermes,

who does what he can to lighten my mood.

 

 

I am my husband’s wife.

I rule Hades’ realm at his side,

and I am no longer an innocent child.

Just as humans can change, so can the gods,

exchanging old faces for new.

Our masks are not fixed, are not set.

Even a goddess of death is alive,

and this needs to be acknowledged.

I am my mother’s daughter, yes,

but I am also the Queen of the Dead,

and I have not been an innocent child

for a very long time.


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Streetside Prayer

Athena of the Polis,

watch over me, I pray you,

as I walk the byways of your city;

see me as I wander and keep me safe

as I honor you with my visits

to the libraries

the galleries

the schools

the museums,

and pray with the rhythm of my feet

against the sidewalks and cobblestoned street.

The merchants, the artists, the craftsmen,

they sing the litany of your skills

in the call to buy their wares,

the pounding of hammers;

the creaking of wheels against the road

are the instrumentation of your hymns.

O Athena, I exult in the richness

of this, your place,

this temple to civilization,

and thank you, grateful that I am so lucky

as to be allowed to share in it.

Io Athena!

The city, too, is your temple,

and gladly I worship there.


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Ode to Pan

Let me honor you with my fear,

o Lord of the woodlands and meadows.

Goat-footed god, great Pan, Hermes’ son,

there is wisdom in your wildness,

and ecstasy to be found at your revels,

but all the libations poured out to you

are less a fitting tribute than that primal terror

you engender,

setting the heart to roaring

and the skin to grow cold.

I taste metal streaking my tongue,

the song of adrenaline and cortisol,

a thunder in the ears akin

to the pounding of drums.

No matter how steady my feet have been

on the forest path,

when my mouth goes dry and

my breath comes quick,

I know it is reverence for you,

ripped from my bosom

even when there is no obvious cause—

no bear or wolf to menace with claw and fang,

no strange sound, sourced in silence,

no bolt of lightning or earth shaking beneath my feet,

only terror,

raw and relentless,

climbing up my throat from

my heart and my gut.

Great god Pan,

accept that offering that I bring you,

the gift of fear that you, in turn, give to me,

a gift for a gift,

given to the giver,

the respect and awe that I have for you,

and let my cries rise up to you.


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Love Song for Aengus

Laughing boy, dancing boy, beautiful boy,

your father’s house is now your own.

Above you, the doves dance as you dance,

stretching their wings, exulting in the poetry of movement.

There is glory in your gaze,

sensuality in each step you take,

and every smile is seduction.

Goldenhair, blue-eyed perfection,

or green, or hazel—

Each of us sees in you what we most crave,

and what our longing bends toward.

You have every temperament that

draws lovers to love:

courage and wit,

kindness and humor,

intelligence and patience,

generosity and strength and gentleness.

Silver tongue, silken voice, smooth manners.

 

 

God of youth, god of passion,

Lord of poetry and of love,

we beg you to be kind in your gift-giving;

we do not always know what is good for us,

so when we beseech you to bring us love,

I pray that you lead to us

what we most need

rather than just that which we desire.

Beauty is found in the heart,

not just on the surface,

and let us not be deceived

by hateful heart wearing fair face.

Sweet and knowing Aengus,

let us never be so blinded by our lusts

that we forget there are other qualities just as great, or better.

and in your generosity and mercy,

help us find a love that will last a lifetime.


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For Educational Purposes

What have I learned in Your keeping?

 

My grasp of the mysteries of the world

is no deeper than the film of motor oil

on the surface of a puddle of rain.

 

My desire to cease existing is neither

unique nor necessarily a surprise,

but my life does not belong to me,

but to you, and I should not destroy

or throw away that which is not mine.

 

I have found that there are more things

linked to you than I knew

–indeed, almost everything in the universe

seems to bear your signature upon its soul.

 

But also, finally, that all these defects may

be remedied if only I continue to draw breath,

feel the sun on my face, hear the wind at night,

and continue to exist in your service.


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Conversations (Part One)

Most think You only cleverness and mischief,

if they know of You at all.

Others still get what they know of You

from fiction, thinking You a blue-skinned mini-monster

with bloody eyes and bloody hands.

But ‘giant’ doesn’t always refer to size;

sometimes it indicates the height of Your ambitions,

or the vastness of Your reach;

I do not pretend that I know Your plans,

I only know that they are not for those like me to know.

Jotun You are, blood-brother to He who owns me,

and I pay attention to His demands and desires,

and things laid out in the lore;

at first it was only due to duty

that I poured out offerings to You

when I made them for Him,

but of late there is more to it than that.

I am not seduced by the pretty face worn by the

fictional ‘You’, scarlip;

Beauty cannot be trusted,

it has its own agendas,

is all too often only deep as skin’s surface,

and anyway, I know that is not the real You, though

–shapeshifter that you are—

I know you could wear that mask if You chose.

But why would You choose to?

I cannot think there are things You could not do

without that lie of a smirk;

they call You Lie-Smith,

but You tell the truth when it suits You.

Honesty can be a weapon, cutting, bruising,

killing when wielded correctly,

and I have no doubt whatsoever

that You are skilled in its use.

I will not say You are unknowable,

but the knowing of You is the work of a lifetime—

or two, or three, or ten—

and not something to be gained

in a night’s casual jesting

or the reading of however many books I might buy;

You cannot be found in paper alone,

but only in life.
I cannot call myself Lokean,

not when I belong to another,

but I will confess a fascination with You

the lure a serpent has for a mouse,

a fascination that was not there in the beginning.

I want to know You better,

and I know how disastrous that has been

for some of those I know,

and wonder if it would be worth it.

I do not think myself incapable of accidentally

angering You in my fervor,

and there would be nothing to stand

in the way of Your wrath if I did so;

He who owns me would not protect me,

for He does not value or respect stupidity.

It would definitely be a lesson, of a sort,

though one I do not think I would enjoy.

Still, if I survived it, I could definitely say

I knew You better, afterward.

Understand, such a mistake would never

arise out of disrespect, contempt, or malice;

but I could not say in truth

that it might not come from fear;

given what I do know of You,

only a fool would not entertain

a healthy fear of You,

just as only a fool would not hold

a healthy fear of a tornado,

or a rattlesnake,

or a forest fire,

or a flood.

These things might contain no hatred in them

for those they destroy as they go about their business,

but they destroy and they kill anyway.

You are like that,

a force of nature,

not to be underestimated,

or mocked,

or disregarded,

or dismissed,

or made light of.

I have no wish to do any of those things,

only an overabundance of caution,

and a healthy fear of what You are capable of,

though I do not consider myself a coward.

I would like to learn more of You,

I do not shy away from that,

and I would dare much

and ask for no favors to do so,

but not without His permission,

and not without a plea that You not shatter me

for my presumption.