A Hymn for Vulcan, Quencher of Volcanoes

Today is the feast in the Roman-ish pagan calendar I attend to, for Hephaestus and the Nymphs.  A while back, in 2005, I wrote a hymn for this day.  And more recently, I revisited this subject in 2006, using it as the opportunity to do a review of technology use in my life.

This year, it seems, we might need to ask him to calm down a volcano.

Hail to you, Vulcan, keeper of the forge,
the bale-fire that redden all gods’ tools.
Bank the coals, blacksmith, and temper the urge
to quicken the heat: remember us fools
who labor in the shadow of your halls
and plough the soils birthed from your ashes:
please quench the rising magma in its flues.
Liberate that lava in smaller galls;
or send it forth in narrower flashes
without poisonous clouds and toxic brews.

Great smith, with mighty hammer-blows you ring
changes on the Land, even as you make
the arms of the gods; therefore do we sing
your praises often. Yet know what’s at stake,
for much do we tremble at eruption,
much do we fear both tsunami and flame —
the quencher of life, and the consumer.
Volcanoes rise where the Earth’s subduction
melts tectonic crust right down to its name;
and magma, cut off, becomes the humour


of the Earth itself — the liquid stone heart
that burns at the center of your furnace.
Lord Vulcan, master of the blacksmith’s art,
manage your minions with strength and sternness,
and do not permit them to overheat
the billets that will on your anvil lie.
Restrain flowing lava and choking gas.
And in thanks for this remarkable feat,
we sing this hymn, and make incense clouds fly,
and pour libation from bowls of clear glass.

If you make use of this hymn today or in the next few days or months or years, I’d like to know.  Please consider leaving me a comment.

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