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!

Attention Deficit Housework as Devotion

My ADHD (inattentive) diagnosis is all formal now; has been for nearly three weeks. My meds have been added to accordingly.

…I am actually accomplishing things with ever so much more ease now than before. As a case in point, while I have been consistently doing laundry weekly, until last weekend I had not folded laundry in some months. Clean Laundry Mountains could be found in the corridor between the coat closet and the sofa. The laundry is all folded and even away. I further succeeded in folding all the laundry I did this past weekend, and it is piled neatly in a basket in my bedroom—I don’t have room to put away most of that, actually, I need to reduce my wardrobe size (or get more clothes storage space). I repeat: I had been procrastinating folding laundry for months. Amazing what one can get done when one doesn’t have to stare down the vicious dragon of Can’t before one can get to the actual project!

I owe Athena Paionia such a thanks-gift, and I hope Hestia Polyolbos is pleased with the offerings of housework labor I have been making. Certainly I find my home to be a much more pleasant living space when it’s clean[er]—though I hate cleaning!

somebody asked me to clarify the meaning of the Delphic maxim “Be overcome by justice”

Okay. Let me clarify that I do not actually have any fluency with ancient Greek. But I do have a Liddell-Scott abridged lexicon, memories of conjugating verbs and declining nouns and adjectives in high school Latin lessons, and Wikipedia’s ancient Greek declension/conjugation tables.

So. The particular maxim we’ve got here is ηττω υπο δικαιου: êttô upo dikaiou.

The lexicon at the only entry for eta-tau-tau-anything refers me to eta-sigma-sigma-anything, and that’s all related to the verb meaning “to be less than, weaker than, inferior to another”, “to be beaten, to give way, to submit”, it’s even a legal term for “to lose one’s cause”. It may have been too long since high school Latin lessons, I can’t figure out the verb tense and voice, but I’m going to assume Oikonomides had a reason for translating this in the imperative.

upsilon-pi-omicron is a preposition. Its lexicon entry goes on for a solid half page, and what precisely it means depends on the case of the noun it goes with. Haven’t got that far yet; I’ll come back.

delta-iota-kappa-alpha-iota-omicron-upsilon okay looks like second declension noun in the genitive case, which means grammatical gender is indeterminate because of reasons, but English hasn’t got that outside pronouns anyway so none of you care. (It’s spelled wrong to refer to the Goddess Dikê anyway. I’m pretty sure.) So now I only have to comb through a quarter page of the lexicon to figure out that preposition! Might be “under” or “by” or “to” or “by reason of”, though, depending on precise context.

The noun “dikaios” (or “dikaia” or “dikaion”) might refer to justice or righteousness or equality or evenness or lawfulness or fairness or even moderation.

So I’m going to translate ηττω υπο δικαιου as “Submit to justice”: don’t set yourself against justice (or Justice), as [it, She] is stronger than you. (Oikonomides’s translation, “Be overcome by justice”, still reads more to me like, justice is a goal, work to get there.) It might equally well, if more loosely and verbosely translated, mean “When you lose a court case, accept the verdict”! But as you can see precisely how I got to either of those theres from here, you can translate it yourself how you choose.

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”)

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