Aestas is the Roman goddess of summer and the fertility of the field.
Hymn for Aestas
Hail, holy Aestas, queen of summer days,
heralded by asparagus and chard,
and ripening beets hidden from sun’s rays.
Corn stalks seek sky, your verdant honor guard;
where hands have dug deep, sifting, sieving stones,
or nourished soil with winter’s black rot,
or planted pips in well-spaced, ordered rows—
the gate of your treasure house faintly groans
with all the abundance that autumn forgot
in months on thin squirrels and hungry crows…
rhubarb and raspberry, lettuce and kale,
tomato and oregano and thyme
give praise to your work in the garden’s pale
on rootstock and rhizome and creeping vine.
Bring cucumber and chive and grapes in turn,
celery and mustard greens and basil,
Brussels sprouts and spinach and summer squash,
sweet and spicy peppers to make tongue burn,
potatoes, carrots and bulbs of fennel,
honeydew and cantaloupe in a rush.
Aestas, grow glory from well-planted seed,
and feed well such mouths as hand-tend a field.
Guide well the hand that pulls the choking weed,
or waters soil to treble its yield.
Lend strength and force to back-breaking labor,
clearing pavement from dead or hidden ground
that longs for rain’s taste and sun’s scent once more.
We’ll greet with song and dance, flute and tabor
the graces tasted, and communion found
in feasts you gave from your abundant store.