Revisiting Hephaestus & 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 came 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.

It’s now a year since I wrote this poem for the Feast of Hephaestus and the Nymphs, which is today. One of my goals for this coming year is to review and think of each piece in terms of liturgy a little. I don’t have any blocking to go with this poem, but if you do a ritual with it, I’d like to know.

For me, the feast of Hephaestus is a time to do a tech review.

About this time of year and this year, I’m pondering whether or not to get a cell phone. It seems an appropriate time, with school about to begin, and Hephaestus keeping watch over the ‘nets. At the same time, the expense of owning one seems massive, and I still have to pay for internet service at home, and regular home-phone service. So it winds up being a double-burden for one phone. Still, it’s worth considering. I don’t think I need a new computer, though I think having a desk-style model at home might be worth the investment, so that the laptop could stay at school more frequently, and be a ‘working computer’. But then the desktop at home would tend to gather dust. So no, probably no computer this year.

I’m also reviewing my organizational system to decide if it’s time to make major changes in it. So far, I’m not finding reasons to overhaul it — merely tweak it a little. I think I’ll also do a technology review in my house, and see if there are any changes I wish to make at school or at home. I think the big thing is that my home printer is broken, which means relying on the school printer a lot more than I’m comfortable doing. So that may need to get replaced.

The last major “technology” referenced in this poem is cloth and clothing. I’m pretty well set for casual clothes, but it may be time to make a visit to Mens’ Wearhouse or Jos. A. Bank and replace some of my formal school clothes. Some of them fit fine, despite the weight I’ve lost, but others are clearly in need of toss-and-replace. I’m conscious, post-SpiritFire, that I own a lot of clothes that aren’t really suitable for me or my body type or my age, and I need to think about how to be alternative without looking like a narc officer. Hmm.

Plus, the car got serviced on Monday or Tuesday, so I’m good for another 3,500 miles or so at least. That’s about it for now, technologically speaking.Time to walk the dog.

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  1. This is a tangent but I have to share
    Last Saturday I was with a bunch of people cleaning up Hilltop Farm for our Labor Day Farm Fest. One of the guys was using a gadget that burns away weeds coming up through pavement (rather than poison them slowly). Another volunteer thought that he looked like a fire God but “What’s the name of a fire God…?” I was seriously excited to be able to respond with Hephaestus because of your poem. In the end (and after other research), consensus dubbed him Vulcan instead, but it was super cool to have that info at hand! Thanks 🙂

  2. Glad you liked it.

    There’s about 30-40 such odes scattered back through the last year and a half, each dedicated to a god in the Roman calendar, and with a specific intention in mind to look closely at some portion of my life. So far they’ve been useful.

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