Antinous for Everybody

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Hymn to Dionysus VI: Mirror

I am afraid of you, Dionysus, for I am afraid of myself.
I am afraid of your anger, for I myself am deeply angry.
I am afraid of your lust, for my own lust seems boundless.
I am afraid of your masks, for I hide my own truth constantly.
I am afraid of your wine, for it blurs my anxious mind.
I am afraid of your chains, for when you break them, you destroy,
and I have wanted to destroy and clutched my chains instead.
I am afraid of your freedom, for what will I do if I am free?
I am afraid of your love, for you loved both Pentheus and Ariadne.
Yet if I love a god, how can I empty that vessel?
Can my thirst be too great for you, Dionysus?
You only smile and offer me the cup.

Hymn to Dionysus I

k12-1dionysosHail, Dionysus! To you, the son of many mothers and the child of no father,
I turn my attention now. Even Zeus was your mother, cradling you in his thigh,
Zeus the lover and destroyer of your mother, earthly Semele, who became
heavenly Thyone, the raving queen. You freed her from the underworld
and exalted her to the stars, and you exalted your bride, too, Ariadne
of the labyrinth. So you always treat those who worship and honor you,
exalting the senses, exalting the spirit, making humans greater than mortal,
while you cast down those who reject you, who refuse your joyous dance.

You bear many names and bring many stories when you come dancing,
Dionysus, Bacchus, Liber, Bromios, Lyaios, Kissios, Anthion, Zagreus.
You deck your hair with grape vines or ivy or spring flowers; you carry
the thyrsos tipped with a pine cone and trailing vegetation. Sometimes
you come as Father Liber, bearded, bull-strong, and crowned with horns;
sometimes you are the pretty boy, the effeminate stranger, hair in ringlets,
eyes outlined with kohl. You are never more dangerous than when
you seem vulnerable, never more kind than when you are fierce,
O rule-breaking god, noise-maker, breath-taker. I welcome you
and your jug of wine, your prowling beasts, your star-crowned wife,
all your mothers and lovers, your labyrinthine stories, your masks and dances,
your songs and trances, I welcome you, god who has danced around my life
ever since I was a child, hail, Dionysus, hail, Dionysus, hail, Dionysus!

Ariadne

Theseus gave me two wedding cups
made from the horns of my dead brother
and that’s when I knew it would never work out
between us. He was my brother, you know.
Locked up in the labyrinth like the idiot child
in a home, like the junkie teenager left in rehab,
the embarrassment, the black sheep of the family.
A bull with hooves and horns. A boy’s intelligence
in his eyes, human emotions in his bellowing.
I thought perhaps he might follow the thread
out, once Theseus was dead.

I knew it would never work out, but I left
with Theseus because what else was I
to do? It’s not like my parents deserved
a dutiful daughter. My father thought to
cheat the gods; my mother thought to
cheat my father; it was all ruined, all
wrong. So I left with Theseus and pretended
to sleep while his men carried the supplies
on board, drew up the boats and then
the anchor, sailed away.

I woke at sunset and looked at the night sky.
That’s when he came out of the shadows
toward me, a slender figure limned in light.
He had ivy shoots and grape vines for a
crown, but the crown he offered me was
twined of stars. It glittered in his hand far
brighter than the stars above, if not as
brightly as the stars above. He smiled and
then I took his hand. “You remind me
of my brother,” I said, and smiled.

Liberalia

Liber et Libera: A Dialogue

You are my brother.

You are my sister.

You are my husband.

You are my wife.

Your sister, your bride.

My maiden, my tragedy.

You went down into the underworld.

I raised you to the stars.

I thought I had lost you.

I thought I would never find you.

I am parthenos and hetaira.

I am the lover of women and of men.

You have ivy in your hair.

You have wine in your lap.

I have never loved anyone else.

I have only ever loved you.

Every one you have touched has been me.

No one touched you until I came.

Every one that I wanted was you.

You are every soul that I have desired.

We will make the flowers bloom.

We will make the seeds sprout.

We will make the cocks rise.

We will make the grain grow high.

We will pour out wine for everybody.

All the revellers will pour out wine for us.

I give you my heart and soul.

I give you my joy and madness.

I am your sister, your wife, the starry-crowned goddess of the heavens.

I am your brother, your husband, the ivy-crowned bull of the earth.

I am Ariadne, Persephone, Libera.

I am Dionysus, Asterios, Liber.

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