New PDF: Festae

I’ve gotten around to putting one of my Kindle-only books out as a PDF: Festae

This is a collection of 47 poems dealing with various operative powers in the ancient Roman pagan calendar. The legendary second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, is credited with devising a calendar for the city of Rome and inventing the procedures for the festivals for its gods. Something about this inspired me, and I created poetry (in my usual three-verse Ode style) to honor these days. Each poem draws on the Roman tradition, but also touches on how this deity might affect our lives today. Once I wrote the original set of poetry, I added additional dates based on cultures the Romans encountered or conquered, and deities who were known to have influenced the Roman Empire in some fashion. I even included a hymn to Mary Magdalene, for reasons of my own. There are at least three hymns for each month, sometiems four, and the date of the festival in the Roman calendar (after the Julian reforms of 46 BC) are included with each poem.

Of all my Kindle/Amazon books, Festae has been… well. Let’s call it the “least popular.” The Hymns for the Behenian Stars and the Mansions of the Moon and some other pieces made it into A Full Volume of Splendour and Starlight — but until now these poems were not available as a downloadable PDF (in both A4 and US Letter) that you could take to your local print shop and have printed and bound for yourself.

The month of February is the busiest month of the old Roman calendar, and my hope is that people who do any sort of Greco-Roman work will find these poems to be a useful addition to their practice. The price is $15.00, or about $0.32 a poem.

In this month of January, I include the poem for Pax or “Peace”, in the hope that she may not be too far off this month and this year:

January 30 – Peace

Hail, lady Peace, long ignored and maligned:
too long did we gird you in wisps of silk,
and make you a prize for what War designed.
 Famine, Ruin, and spirits of that ilk
have spread your legs to slake their desires.
They poisoned every fruit swelling your womb,
so even when you reign, the milk of War
drips from your breasts — your children’s sires
steal them from ploughshare, pruning hook, and loom
 to mine for coal, and process iron ore,

and gift the wealth of nations to the flames.
Shall spices from afar repay widows
for husbands turned to photographs and names,
 for sons of rank laid in stony meadows?
Men get gold watches for twenty years down
building ships to command broad ocean, and skies,
and medals to march the broad lap of earth.
Yet their work is to bomb a distant town,
and cover its dead with maggots and lies,
claiming the deed has some strategic worth.

Yet be crowned with laurel, and rise to rule,
not robed in swift-stripped luxury, but cloth
made by neighbor’s hands, and place every tool
in hands of diligence instead of sloth.
Approach, sweet Peace, and pour out plenty’s horn: 
lavish your gifts on every tribe and race,
so Abundance and Content come to all,
from elderly folk down to the unborn,
from great cities to each forgotten place,
and war dies forgotten, beyond recall!

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