Poem: Hymn to Hygeia

Visit me, Hygeia, gird me with health,
in both body and mind for work ahead.
I would build structures that increase some wealth,
not just to myself: your springs, it is said,
bring healing to all, and not one alone.
Help me to plan, and see my purpose done,
and to delegate where my vision fails:
Cleanse with hyssop and polish me like stone. 
Then sweat me hard ’til the labor’s well done,
and the work’s complete: roads and iron rails

carry us along toward our desires;
markets and law courts make each city fair; 
temples and power plants stoke common fires; 
pipelines and fountains make clean our first care. 
Yet remind me that each work has a cost,
paid out in coin and sweat and dignity —
and riches stripped from Earth and Sky and Sea.
Guide my work so the effort is not lost,
but last results reflect divinity:
a mirror that shows what no one can see.

By colophonum’s scent and smoking curls 
arising as a pillar from the earth —
help me build a structure that long endures, 
and prospers the many who share its worth. 
Help me to gather the crew that I need,
whose commingled sweat shall build what I ask 
(and see that their work earns a just reward). 
Make further flowerings bloom from my seed, 
as full systems unfold from my first task —
to value my health with proper regard.

For most of the last year, I have only shared poetry with my Patreon subscribers, rather than posting this material to the blog. However, at the end of the year, I’ve had a number of requests for this content about cleanliness and preventative medicine. I have decided that it makes sense to make this particular piece of content public, for the use of the larger community.

May you have health, wealth, peace and opportunity in the coming year!

A Brief Note: Colophonum, or Colophony, is a resinous by-product of pine trees, and is an ingredient in paper and fabric sizing, adhesives, skin-care products, musical instrument rosin, and other products. It’s also for some people a skin irritant and a definite asthma risk when burned. While it is attested in ancient sources as an incense used at rites of Hygiea, you may want to simply replace it with a commercially available pine-scented incense or fragrance oil… and still may want to avoid burning it in large quantities indoors.

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