Hymn for the Lights of Isis

Hymn for the Lights of Isis
(12 August)

Hail, sad-eyed goddess, riverbank dancer
who sings as her tears fall into the stream.
At hands of Seth, that crocodile schemer,
your husband was slain, and with him your dream.
You built reed boat and wove sails to go find
Osiris your love, butchered and sundered,
whom your magic might yet restore to life.
Yet sorrow was never far from your mind;
thus from your cheeks new tears sometimes tumbled
to the Nile: woes of a mourning wife.

In flowing dark water, they shone like stars:
silver-gilt anemones glittering,
and Ocean carried them to rocks and shoals
where they remained, alight and glimmering.
When mortals on shore glimpsed those bright beacons,
they voyaged out on the once-unmarked deep,
to take the paths that Lady Isis sowed.
Thus men first traveled by divine tokens,
and though none would want a goddess to weep,
we still must acknowledge a debt is owed

for opening the paths of Ocean —
when going to sea on the turning tide —
for putting hulls into fluid motion —
when traveling far in the world so wide —
Lady Isis may your tears one day fade,
but still accept our worship of your woe,
and continue to illumine our way:
both open high-ways of overseas trade,
and deep tides that drag us from what we know,
to happy strands lit by glorious day.

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