Hymn for the Feast of Dionysius
Hail, lord of twisting and flowering vine,
dancing foreign god with thrysus and grape.
Your youthful touch turns juice and must to wine,
and fills the cup with scent of pleasing shape.
Dionysius, dolphins are leaping
while twining tendrils climb the pirate mast,
and purple drips from grapes down broad white sails.
On mountaintops, Bacchante are singing,
stumbling in visions that cannot last.
King Pentheus saw them, but told no tales;
Ecstasy of orgy and rage of blood
are not far separate in mind of mortal.
Kings withhold libation, fearing the flood
of passion when wine unlocks a portal,
and freedom looses tongues and rigid law.
Laughing, drunken mothers outran lion
to corner, and seize, and rip apart.
Truth and sobriety rubbed Mother raw;
the great cat was her own royal scion,
cloaked in illusion by the vintner’s art.
Dionysius: give us giddiness —
all the tipsy kindness of family and friends.
Yet shield us from the drunkard’s surliness,
and quarrels drifting into violent ends.
Dapple vineyards with sun in good measure;
lend luster to cabernet and merlot,
and drizzle sparkles bright into champagne.
Fill each cask and bottle with rich treasure:
conversation at dinners eaten slow,
picnics in meadows, and dances in rain.
Delayed on this one. Amazing how this week and last week just ran away with me all over the place. Part of me feels like I’m waking from a kind of insanity.