Poem: For Mars

I have it in mind to write seven planetary odes— hymns for the seven classical planets of the ancient world, and the principal divine forces of the “seven heavens” as laid out in classical Hellenistic/Roman philosophy, and as later used by Medieval Christians, and as later used by Renaissance humanists.

Today being Tuesday, the hymn in question is for Mars.

Hear, valiant Mars, and doff thy red-plumed helm,
Sheath your swordfor now, and lay down your spear,
For lately do your actions overwhelm
So many, and still more are ruled by fear.
Yet justice bound with mercy make the law,
And chaos must be sheathed upon the hip,
As armor must be laid aside at times —
For man’s love of war oft becomes a flaw
When militant hands claim too strong a grip
Upon our spirits: See violence’s crimes

Of wrath with stern and unforgiving eye,
But bend our hearts to love justice and truth,
To honor bravery — AND the infant’s cry —
To dread making soldiers from gentle youth.
Yet give us knowledge to know when to fight,
And hearten us with courage as we need.
Give us good allies in thhe wars to come,
And help us be supplied with weapons bright.
Yet help us care for those who ache and bleed,
And grant peace without grudge when war is done.

Mars, you are lord of the field of battle,
And every conflict stirs you with delight.
Yet temper wrath, as smith works metal,
Nor arm us with the lie that might makes right.
You used to revel in revenge and rage,
And gleefully enjoyed men’s screams of pain,
The sack of cities, and blood in the dust.
Boisterous Mars, grow wiser in your age,
And from the war-god’s prideful boast refrain:
Give us courage — but let our weapons rust.

Venus (for Fridays) and Sun (for Sundays) are already done.

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