Hymn for Castor and Pollux
Hail, strong-limbed twins, half-divine, half-mortal,
brothers of the fairest woman, ever.
One of you lived at risk of Death’s portal;
the second felt the fear of doom never,
but recklessly tangled with all dangers.
One hung back in every battle and hunt;
one rushed to where the conflict was thickest.
Yet immortal longed for mortal hungers:
his skin was armor, weapons became blunt,
and all arrows missed, for he was quickest
but he never knew a woman’s caress
and kisses were as hammer blows — unfelt.
Castor sought Zeus alone, without duress,
spoke his thought to Lord of Thunderbolt:
“Give half my divinity to my twin,
and place half his mortality in me,
so we gain equal shares in joy and woe.”
Thus Pollux gained life, Castor achieved sin,
and equal risk of death and deity…
and Zeus made them stars, where they both still glow
half the year in night, and half in the day,
seeming eternal yet at risk of death,
starry essence planted in mortal clay,
god-spirit animating flesh with breath.
Famed as warriors, guides and physicians,
You bring us laughter and sweet compassion.
Of all gods, you understand human pain:
We ask your guidance in our decisions.
Remind us that flesh is earthly fashion
cast off, though our spirits yet remain.