Tag: my poems

POEM: Dog Days

“Hermanubis, show me the way out of this valley.”

The dog-headed lord raises one arm and points

To where Sirius is rising with the sun.

Then he drops to all fours and nudges me with his snout

To get me moving. I climb to my feet and pick up

The caduceus where Hermanubis dropped it.

The god barks joyfully and trots toward the light,

Looking back over his shoulder to make sure I follow.


How long have I been in this valley?

The river has pooled and stagnated.

The flowers on the bank have withered.

All the steep hills to either side are still in shadow,

Slopes of broken rock that cut my feet.

At least I think they did. But the dog-god

Is making his way forward along the riverbank,

Leaving his paw prints in the soft mud,

And I think I can follow, leaning on his staff.


The stream gets wider as we head up the valley;

The water begins to move. Where did it come from,

Flowing away from us now, leading us the way

We were going? What are these red flowers,

Emerging from the mud as the water widens?

I can see my reflection in the stream, lit

By the twin beams of Ra and Sothis,

But I hardly recognize myself.


The further we go, the brighter, stronger,

Hotter the light gets. I lower my eyes till

all I can see are the faithful dog’s footprints,

Bordered by shoots of green, but still

I falter. I cover my eyes against the light

And grip the god’s staff more tightly,

But I cannot go on–until a shadow appears

And rises to engulf me. Hermanubis barks.


The sound of baying hounds and barking beasts

Answers the cynomorphic god. I stumble back

As the pack of them surrounds us, barking,

Panting, whining. But it is not their shadow

Which comes over me, cool and beneficent,

Softening the light so that I can see again,

I can lift my head to see him–my god,

Antinous, the master of the hounds.

He pets Hermanubis and smiles at me.


“Come on, we’re going hunting. Don’t worry

About keeping up. Your feet will be fleet

As Hermes’ if you run with us! Come on!”

Buskins on his feet, a quiver over one shoulder,

A bow with arrow in his hand, he is dressed

For hunting. The dogs prance and bark.

The wings of the caduceus flutter;

Its dormant snakes stir. Can I find

What I am seeking if I run with the hunt?

In the presence of the god it seems possible.

The divine boy turns, whistles;  the dogs

Lead off, and in the safety of his shadow,

I run forward, fleet as Hermes, I run, I run.

Before her month is over…

Queen of Heaven

Let it not be said that there are no goddesses in heaven.

Let it not be said that all goddesses are of earth.

Let no one deny the sovereignty of Juno,

queen of heaven, lady of the sky.

Praise to Juno whose domain is the heavens.

Praise to Juno whose mantle is the clouds.

Praise to Juno whose handmaid is the rainbow.

Praise to Juno who both stirs and calms storms.

Praise to Juno, wife and mother, queen and matron,

protectress of all women whether slave or free, rich or poor.

Praise to Juno, equal to Jove, wise as Minerva,

steadfast as Vesta, free as Diana, beautiful as Venus.

Praise to Juno, protectress of women, shaper of heroes,

guardian of the nation, noblest of goddesses.

Ave Juno Dea!


To Juno Moneta

Admonish me, O Juno Moneta:

Admonish when I am about to spend too much.

Admonish when I have spent too little.

Warn me when I have forgotten my bills.

Encourage me when I need a taste of luxury.

Guide me when there is danger ahead.

Guard me when I am under threat.

May the cries of birds alert me to threats

and to the presence of the gods who can help me.

May they remind me of your presence

and your power, Juno Moneta.

POEM: Turing Test

Let us propose a game.
A man and a woman, call them A and B, go out of the room.
A third party, man or woman, call them C, proposes questions
transmitted in writing.
The purpose of the questions: To determine which party,
A or B, is the man, and which party, B or A, is the woman.
A and B shall both attempt to deceive C
by giving answers appropriate to the opposite sex.
Now, let us consider this question:
Is a man who loves other men
a man or a woman?

Let us propose a variation.
Here is a computing machine, call it A.
Here is a human person, call them B.
A third party, call them C, proposes questions
transmitted in writing.
The purpose of the questions: To determine which party,
A or B, is the computer, and which party, B or A, is the human being.
Can a computing machine convince a human being
that it also is a human being?
Now, let us consider this question:
Is a man who loves other men
a human being?

Here is a man, a person, a human being.
He is very good with computers.
He served his country in the war.
He fell in love with a man
that he met in front of the cinema.
They committed acts of gross indecency.
Is a man who loves other men
a man or a woman? Is he
a hero or a traitor? Is he
a human being or an object of gross indecency?
Was his death a suicide or an accident?
This is the Turing test.

POEM: The Eagle's Star

Antinous rises tonight
Tonight he bestrides the constellations,
bridging Aquarius and Aquila
Heralded by Muses and poets,
he ascends the heavens
to claim the Boat of Millions of Years
The archons of the underworld are defeated
Their perversions no match for his terrible beauty
Fear and hatred, greed and lust
flee from the light of his countenance
Hail, Antinous! Star of beauty in the night sky!
Hail, Antinous! Navigator of the celestial Barque!
Hail, Antinous! You are the journey, you are the guide,
you yourself are the destination!
Hail, Antinous! The beautiful boy rises in the east!

POEM: To Tolkien on his birthday

An icon by Robert Lentz

You wandered among the trees, pipe gripped
between your teeth, dreaming of elder days,
when you might have been a poet singing
in a firelit hall. Instead you wandered among
the trees and told your tales to friends in pubs
and wandered back to dreary students
grubbing at the ancient roots of language.
Every language a mythology, every mythology
a universe: Your languages, your mythology,
your universe endure, your memory enshrined
along with Homer, Virgil, Dante, Amergin
and Taliesin and the lost poets of the North,
Ent-namer, mythmaker, word-lover, Elf-friend.

POEM: A hymn for the winter solstice

The longest night, the shortest day
Each year it comes and goes its way
The bleak midwinter blest with feasts
To joy the greatest and the least

The newborn light becomes a boy
His mother’s pride, the whole world’s joy
The gods immortal come to earth
In mortal flesh for mortal mirth

Here Jesus sleeps with ox and ass
As one by one the shepherds pass
To worship him the angels sang
On whom the coming centuries hang

Antinous puts on the crown
That Dionysus handed down
Of ivy, grape, and fragrant pine
And bids us to the feast with wine

While Hercules, the victor strong,
Cries, “Io, Io!” with the throng
And Angerona has the right
To keep us silent for a night

So let us keep our flames alight
Through shortest day and longest night
And hold each other, heart and hand,
Till spring spreads forth throughout the land.

Saturnalia II: Eponalia


All in grey my love comes riding
Lady goddess, mare and queen
Bird and hound and hare and horses
In her sacred train are seen

Now a woman sadly weeping
Now a stamping heated mare
Life and death are in her keeping
Sack and keys are in her care

Grain she gives to those who hunger
Guidance gives to those who stray
Wise are those who fear her anger
Happy those who bid her stay

Ave, Epona Regina
Rigantona, Mari Llwyd,
Macha, Demeter Despoina,
May we all your wrath avoid