All Their Voices

Words and thoughts in devotion to the Divine

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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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Finding Athena

There are many kinds of wisdom,

but I have always felt closest to you

in the library,

surrounded by tall stacks of books,

the scent of gently aging paper and ink in the air,

words of wit and wisdom in frames on the wall.

This is not your true home,

no more than any earthly temple can be,

for it is not Mount Olympus.

But nonetheless, I feel you here,

just out of sight,

browsing, running your fingers

over the spines of many tomes:

history, archaeology, strategy and tactics,

languages, arts and poetry,

the science of the polis,

government, and the care and feeding of human devotees.

The quiet here, the respect for learning,

these strike me as things that would please you,

and the reverence for knowledge

seems to me as its own sort of offering

in your name.

Many times while visiting,

I fancy that I might meet you face-to-face

if I just step around a corner,

or around the end of the next stack,

and then, if I were very lucky,

very blessed,

we might sit down with cups of tea,

and enjoy a long and enlightening conversation

about all the topics

which we both long to know more about.