Hymn for the Feast of Artemis
Glorious virgin, Artemis divine,
purest, cruelest bloom in Zeus’ garden.
Your silver arrows fly the truest line
to slay by stealth the beasts of forest Arden,
or send Niobe’s daughters to long sleep.
Actaeon glimpsed you rising from your bath;
you changed him to a deer among his hounds.
So wild you are, to make mothers weep
and bury your profaners under wrath…
we turn our eyes from where your lion bounds
and fear the wolfpack singing to the moon.
We know pride when we see eagle fishing,
yet shiver to hear the laughter of loon.
Yes, we can’t abide raccoon foraging,
or coyote stalking grandmother’s cat.
We cry for revenge on the henhouse fox,
and cleave tunneling mole in his barrow.
We are become robbers, stealing the fat,
trying to confine nature in a box,
and railroad wildness on the narrow.
Artemis, make us mindful of our need
to feel the wild not so far away —
not as a bank to sate human greed,
nor as a park for mortal work and play,
but as a chaos, a maelstrom, a flame,
that burns the bush and yet does not consume,
but rather renews the whole creation.
Show us in wildness the nameless Name,
an inmost Holy we dare not presume
to give less than our utmost devotion.