Athena Agon Victor

The victory in the April Athena Agon (belatedly) goes to:

Arachne Pending” by Shannon Connor Winward!

Congratulations to our victor and to all our worthy entrants.


Athena Agon Entry 4

“Athena of Farmers”
by Amanda Artemisia Forrester

My Lady Athena
I have worshiped You for decades now,
Since my heart first lurched at the sound of Your name
When I was just a child.
I have followed You through many incarnations,
Chasing Your elusive form, Your armored head above a swirling skirt
From the shores of Greece to Italia
To the heart of sandy Aiegyptos,
Where the natives named You Neith
And You were n’ver there unveiled.
Now I am now in the midst of another transformation
To my life and my practice.
I am no longer a child of the city and the university,
But a tiller of earth, a grower of seeds and hunter of flesh.
You are named Lady of the City,
And in all incarnations I knew You as such.
I feared that I would not find You in the woods.
I know Artemis, that other Virgin of Olympos,
Huntress of the Wilds, and I love Her well.
But I have come to realize that You have many aspects,
And that Your lesser-known sides are just as great
As those that the poets sing so loudly.
So now I name those aspects that are so highly important to me
As a farmer, a homesteader, a woodswoman.
Greatest Athena, You are a cloud-gatherer, too, like Your great Father,
Who entrusts only You with His greatest weapon,
The lightening bolt crafted by Gaia’s children the Cyclopses.
Without the rains You summon, my plants could not grow,
And my family and animals would not eat.
You were named Anemôtis, subduer of winds,
By Diomedes in Messenia, when You calmed the wild storms
Ravaging his homeland.
The winds howl just as fiercely in the Ozarks.
When Your sacred Temple is built upon the top of a hill You are called Akraia
As are many Deities, Your Father bearing the male version of Acraus.
In Libya You guard Lake Tritonis,
And at Korinth You were called Hellotia
And worshiped in the fertile marshes.
So You guard both hill and lake, both water and land; may You guard mine.
You are Lady of Horses also, Athena Hippia, Inventor of the Bridle
Who bought Poseidon’s unruly creature to heel,
And so made the animal useful to mankind.
Perhaps strangest of all to modern ears,
You bear the name Kolokasia, “Of the Edible Tubers”,
May You guide me to forage in the woods where the secret bounty is hidden.
So, perhaps, it is not so strange for You to be worshiped by a farmer after all.

Athena Agon Entry 3

“To the Grey Weaver”
Jessi Robinson

I sing to the grey-eyed warrior,
You, who bears the Aegis of Your father
And the wisdom of Your mother.
Most-beloved of Athens, who is mother of the city
And bestower of the olive tree.
You, who are attended by Justice
Leads us to do good
And compete on the side of righteousness.
When challenged, You prove Your worth
Instead of raining down blows;
And mete out correct punishment when You win.
Creative Lady, weaver of Olympos
Giver of the skills of the loom,
Accept this prayer, insufficient though it is
In return and thanks for all that You have given.

Athena Agon Entry 2

“Hard Lessons”
Jennifer Lawrence
© 2008

There are certain things I am not smart enough to
Figure out the first time, Gray-eyed lady;
Basic, elemental lessons that must be repeated many times
Before they sink into my thick and insensate skull:
Don’t go near crazy on the Internet,
Because you’ll get it all over you and it’ll never wash off;
You can’t help a rabid dog, and if you try,
It’ll only bite you, no matter how much you feel its pain;
What a person says isn’t always a good indication
Of what he does, and only what he does is a sign of what he does;
Fool me once, shame on you, and fool me twice—or thrice, or ten times,
Or a hundred—shame on me for being a fucking moron.

There’s wisdom that doesn’t come in books,
Only in getting kicked in the gut
Or in someone spitting in your face
Or people you once considered friends
Now laughing at everything you hold dear.
Ugly lessons, hard lessons, but valuable nonetheless.
Lady of wise counsel, Ageleia, Alcis, Amboulia, Paiônia, Soteira:
Protect me from my own stupidity.
Give me the strength not to turn away from these lessons I need to learn,
No matter how much they may hurt,
And heal the wounds my heart may feel
If and when I fail to learn from them again.

Athena Agon Entry 1

“Arachne Pending”
Shannon Connor Winward

Sticky cords spun around my wrists
and throat     wrapped

in the threads of the Weaver.

Her web a warm, snug prison
every time the wind blows, I sway.

It will all be

I am dancing
above the ground

my body pulses,     silk
gestating in my belly

pain is invisible     perfect
seeping from my

chastened fingers, humbled joints
blessed even to tie a knot

let alone a symphony, touch
a blade of grass

a telephone pole

to tell you I understand now
Lady     what beauty is.

This poem first appeared in Eternal Haunted Summer.

Athena Artistic Agon in April, and Call for Submissions for Athena Devotional

In honor of Athena, I am running an artistic contest. Submissions to the agon in any Internet-suitable artistic medium—poetry, photography, sketches, skit scripts, and so forth—are welcome. Please email them to alexeigynaix at gmail dot com by April 30.

The winner will be determined by divination by drawing of lots on May 1, and will receive the statuette of Athena shown here:

a light brown statuette of a seated Athena with an owl on Her knee and a brown-and-white feather

I am hoping that all contestants in this agon will also be willing to submit their work to the Athena devotional I am working on, tentatively entitled Strength of Storms, Weaver of War: a devotional to Athena, which I am planning to publish through Amazon CreateSpace, Kindle Direct Publishing, and Smashwords during Panathenaia in late July. But as “nonexclusive right to publish online”, “nonexclusive right to publish in a print book”, and “nonexclusive right to publish in an ebook” are all different things, I shall assume that anything submitted for the agon is only submitted for the agon unless the submitter explicitly says it is also for the print version and/or ebook version of the devotional. (This may well result in the two versions having differing tables of contents!)

Contributors to the devotional will each receive one print and one ebook copy of the devotional, the ebook copy being in the contributor’s preferred ebook format. Royalties from the devotional will be donated to the Friends of the Dover Public Library (Dover, DE, USA), to aid that organization in its role of assisting my friendly local repository of wisdom.

Best luck—and best skill—to all contestants!