All Their Voices

Words and thoughts in devotion to the Divine

Daïs Hetaerus

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They call you ‘Friend of Man’,

and though you are not human,

have never been human,

Still you understand us poor mortals

better than the others of your family.

Though you of Mount Olympus

are called the Deathless Ones

still you understand our fear of death

and you are kind to us–

save in cases of human evil

where kindness is not called for–

when you come to escort us away,

after our last breathing moment,

to our destination beyond

the gates of Ivory and Horn

to Hades’ domain.

You alone of all the Olympians

understand humor,

as your first utterances show

–to brother Apollo,

when he confronted you for stealing his cattle–

and you know well how important a laugh can be

to help lighten our heavy loads.

You understand the need for theft

when hunger and privation and poverty

threaten to tear body from soul

and we would sell the very flesh off our bones

for a mouthful of bread–

if not for us, then for our children.

Not for nothing are you called ‘God of Thieves’,

and perhaps for you, theft is more about

the joy of the challenge

than any hunger-driven need,

but still, you show your favor

to those who pray to you

in those moments of extreme desperation.

You taught me the value of persistence,

even through pain;

You taught me to keep going,

even when all hope is gone.

You taught me the reasons

a closed mind can be a death sentence.

And you taught me the only appropriate response

for certain kinds of stupidity is laughter.

The miasma of human things

does not touch your incorruptible self,

but above all others, I think,

you understand us woebegone

and ridiculous human beings,

and for that, I will always

be grateful for the time spent in your company,

always pour out libations to you,

just as two friends might get together for tea,

thank you for your aid,

tell you how things have been,

wonder the same of you,

and always

            always

            always

call you Friend.

For Hermes.

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