Sonnet to Athena Alea (that is, Athena Escape-to-Refuge)

“I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Athena shouts, Her lightning torch aflame
In tarnished-copper green on New York shore.
Escape-to-Refuge is always Her name.
It matters not to Her from where you come;
What God, if any, you might answer to;
What talents, wealth, or skills you bring with you.
She cares that you are safe here; don’t succumb
To tempest tossing you and yours around,
Or rich men saying you are less than they,
More fearsome, and they’d rather you had drowned
Than found this world-wide welcome, found your way.
Come, weary one, whose journey’s at its end.
Be welcome, stranger, who might yet be a friend.

(hat tip Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus”)

Become my patron on Patreon


To Hestia the Giving, or, What Hill to Die On

It seems so strange for me to say
I am alone on Christmas Day.
I must delay my gift exchange
till evening. And till then I pray:

Bright Hestia, am I alone?
Please say I’m not, please say You’re here,
in electric candle if not hearth stone.
O Giving One, please say You’re near.

Christmastime is a time of giving,
a time for family, time for living
our most central values—though
there are many who’ll say no,

we are not who we are,
we must be as they will,
even as they also say
that we must follow our own star,
and we’ll die someday—choose a hill.

Well, this is mine, so home I’m not,
though my sisters come tonight,
to the place that any other day
I call my home, by my invite.

Bright Hestia, are You here?
Where no flame burns, no incense lit,
for fear another asthma fit?
Where the altar-keeper’s queer?

Usually I do not doubt
that You care for me as I am.
But after my family’s fallout—

Well, goddamn.

Family, home together tied—
I can’t take this all in stride—

Bright Hestia, please say You’re here.
O Giving One, please say You’re near.

Disney’s Moana

Buzzfeed’s spoileriffic article on Moana highlights that much of the in-story mythology is not true-to-life Polynesian mythology. Not all of the movie’s mythology is Disney-invented, if Wikipedia can be believed, but a great deal of it is purely Disney’s, however strongly rooted in Polynesian culture it may be.

That said: if you’re looking for a movie that portrays polytheism and ancestor worship in a truly delightful manner, with a most determined (and god-touched) title character, Moana is the film for you.

(Oh, there is a small post-credits funny, but really the only reason to stay long enough to see the funny is the credits music.)