Hymn for Hephaestus and the Nymphs

Hymn for Hephaestus and the Nymphs
(23 August)

Hail, hammering god, lit dimly in red,
lamed for guarding women and famed for art:
Fair Aphrodite mocked your marriage bed,
but countless nymphs have sought to win your heart,
you who craft beauty from wood, gold and stone.
Silver and silicon obey your will,
and every silk woven by swift fingers
came from a loom your burly hand designed.
Thus, round you clever nymphs no less in skill
lend their arts to patterners and spinners,
and every hand creatively inclined.

Hephaestus, your forge produces glory,
covering every mortal craft with gold:
Achilles’s shield, famous in story,
was your handiwork, and the bolt of gold
that father Zeus threw. Poseidon’s trident,
Demeter’s sickle, and Apollo’s bow
each cam from your anvil, your heart and brain.
Many a nymph was your steady tenant,
who chose through craft all creation to know;
and each as a Muse did you teach and train.

Regard our mortal crafts with kindly eye,
lame Hephaestus, gentle lord of the forge:
for by your guidance have we learned to fly,
and the nymphs awoke a powerful urge
to make not only in metal, but thread,
to craft and lay out nets of shade and light,
and measure time and space with flames in sand
that holds the records of living and dead.
Help us to use these technologies right,
as we finish crawling and learn to stand.

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  1. […] And, of course, I like playing with Celtic design, and number underlies this work too.  Not as clearly, perhaps, as with pure geometry, but it’s here too.  And number and geometry even turn up in my paintings.  One could even argue (as many have) that number and geometry and mathematics even underly my physical yoga practice.  When I was still writing poetry on a regular basis, number even underlay my work with iambic pentameter. […]

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