Here, I have collected my various poems, hymns and prayers for Apollo along with some notes on my writing.

Invocations

Invocation to Apollo (written for Cedarlight Grove’s Thargelia ritual, April 2007)

Phoebos Apollo, radiant and shining archer,
Pythian Apollo, Lord of Delphi and oracles,
Delian Apollo, Lord of the Island of Delos,
Delphinius,
Averter of evil, Rescuer, Protector of strangers,
Divine healer, Far-shooter. Beautiful, terrible god of truth and light,

I ask your presence. I call to you
To be here this evening and witness this rite.

Golden son of Zeus and Leto, Brother of Artemis,
Lord of the Hyperboreans most pious,
Averter of plagues, giver of foresight
I ask for your blessing of purity, your shining inspiration,
and your unparalleled song.

Apollo, brilliant one of far sight and beautiful voice,
Wine and honey I pour to you.

Ie, Paeon!

Poetry

Marsayas, After the Contest

You cut to kill, but I may yet survive
and if I do, you’ve given me much to consider.
Laid bare to blood-drenched muscle,
every movement, every slight breeze
sears my nerves with fresh pain.

If I die, surely it will be of agony, not injury.

I don’t think you will be wearing my hide;
such is surely well beneath you.
Though perhaps someday I will wear yours:
not in death- for you, there is none
but if someday you shed your skin
like you shed a tear, molting like a snake,
if I should come along at just the right time,
I would seize it up and wrap it around me-
could I then be you, for just a moment
before your essence is lost?

Yes, I am delirious.

You may think me a fool to challenge a god,
but even if I die today, I will be immortal.

And now, it is time for your return
to your sanctuary high atop this stark-faced mountain
where curls of smoke from burning incense
drift and melt into a veil
and bowls of wine and honey adorn your altar.
I wait in your temple, a hymn on my lips;
a prayer hangs from my tongue,
longing for your presence so that it may fall.
Time stretches, then stands still,
holds its breath in anticipation:
your arrival never comes quickly enough.

Bleed me dry,
I am damaged again.
Oh God of My Nightmares,
this time you’ve done it:
Ripped the pain out. Painfully.
No mere scratching the surface, this.
You cut me soul-deep
and now I’m bleeding out.
God of healing, help me to heal.
And will you then help me to not hurt?

Insufficient

To look upon the face of a god,
that is the great mystery,
to fall into such a vision…
to be fixed by the immortal gaze…

Were it that I could paint as I wanted,
I could show you the god who wields
a bow of fire to rain down razor-arrows
from the heavens,
whose touch burns as it heals and whose
sight is second to none.

Whose voice is menacing silk
to the ears of his follower,
uttering terrible prophecy and tossing out
impossible riddles as casually as one
might mention the weather.

And I could show you a god who shines, blinding,
and smolders darkly at once:
The ancient face of youth, perfected and placed on a pedestal
Who grieves as though the world were to end
and meets petty insults with death.

I could show you the god of gold
who dwells in a temple of crystal
perched precariously on a mountain of ice
high above the world.
The wolf and the swan, both,
heed when he speaks- he is one of them
their forms are his forms too.

And there are his eyes, a color you cannot see to name,
whose gaze you cannot meet- or cannot remember meeting-
shadows behind the light,
in the eyes which cannot be met, here he holds all the secrets,
the answers to all questions never asked.

If I could paint as I want,
I could show you every flippant proclamation,
every blatant riddle,
each death, and life preserved,
each wound healed;
the blinding darkness, the obscured light,
the burning touch of his flame-covered hands.

But I cannot paint in blood or fire,
cannot draw with crystal or death.
No canvas vast enough exists
to contain such beauty and terror
and rage and grief, such feeling, as his.
So this will have to do.

I must apologize:
it will never suffice.

Evadne, Unknowing of Alpheios’s Consultation of the Delphic Oracle

How could I not have loved the beautiful god
whose hair and skin are like gold
and whose eyes burn a cool fire?

He spoke to me in a voice so sweet,
words flowed from his tongue like silk.
And the songs he sang, so lovely, surely the Muses
must weep at their beauty.

(And I few, I think, would elicit a blush
even from Erato herself, though this is never mentioned
in the stories they tell of a god such as He.
It wouldn’t be proper.)

And when he desired for me to come with him to his bed,
he promised me no great gifts of unerring prophecy or any
dazzling trinkets that gods may offer in the moment of seduction,
but I had no care for these anyway;
He but asked and I went willing, for a song,
for one night that has burned itself on my soul.

In time I found that one night had left its mark
upon more than my soul, and soon I was to have a child.
A son I would have loved, but for shame cannot keep.
If I told, none would believe that he was
begotten by a god.

Four days past, in a hidden thicket I lay,
pangs of the birth like no pain I’ve ever felt before.
He sent to my side help, the birth-goddess and the Fates.
When it ended, I cried in relief, and I cried in joy, short-lived
and love for the child, so small, now in my arms.

It is with great anguish I chose to do this thing.
I don’t know how I will live with it, I’ll worry about that later.
If I think twice now, I’ll turn back.

In this field of violets, surrounded by honeybees, I’ll lay him down.
I’ll walk away, and I won’t look back.
No doubt he will perish, but I will pray for a miracle and try to forget
this child of mine and of the god of light.

One night that has burned itself upon my soul
Now has torn my heart in two.

Fragment #1

Bleed me dry,
I am damaged again.
Oh God of My Nightmares,
This time you’ve done it-
ripped the pain out. Painfully.

A Good Thing

I am tired, I am dazed.
I am delerious, I am in pain.
These ties that bind my wrists
eat the flesh raw;

but shoot another arrow into my heart,
go ahead, drive another point
straight through my core

and when you’re finished, peel
back my skin layer by layer
until my skin is no more.

I shudder to think about it,
but your torture is comfort.

I won’t be going anywhere, don’t worry.
I don’t have the strength to think about escape,
and escape is not what I need.
Or want.

So it’s a good thing
these ties that bind my wrists
will hold me up.

Untitled

You: Dangerous.

A keenly-honed edge,
razor-sharp.

Ooh, shiny.

Menacing,
hypnotic.

Deadly,
like a wolf,
claws slashing
jaws snapping.

More precise
than microsurgery.

Burning like a fire,
Harsh as an arctic freeze.

As scarred as a man.

As perfect as a god.

Untitled

Do I make an offering in your temple
when it is I who is offered?
I lay my trust in your hands
as surely as you lay down my shredded body
bleeding on your altar,
its surface now streaked and stained
as red as life and death.
What you want of me, you don’t ask
but take from me violently.

Simple acts of devotion will never suffice.
You, I cannot worship by halves.

Willingly

My trust, you demand
repeatedly, constantly.
Don’t you know this hurts?
What do you want from me anyway?
Don’t you know I follow you willingly?
I sometimes wonder if there’s
something wrong with me,
that I let it go so far
and why I have no desire for it to end.
But your beauty is my incentive
and your touch burns, sublime.
The slice of your blade across my skin
is so familiar now
though the shock never wears off completely
and terror is new every time.
I know you know this hurts.
Now I know what you want from me.
And I know you know I follow you.
Willingly.

Untitled

Oh ancient face of idealized youth,
I’ve seen what lies beyond your
marble shell,
scarred perfection,
horrifying beauty,
comforting terror
of depths which I can barely
begin to conceive the vaguest iota
you protect the would-be victim
from your own destruction.

In you, contradiction contradicts no more.

You

I come to you broken.
I come to you damaged,
cut and scarred by your own doing.
What will you?
Why do you do this to me?
Why do you call me?
Why do you hold me, claws digging deep
into my flesh?
You are the enigma.
You are the dream.
You are the nightmare.
You make me scream
in pain
and tremble with fear.
But you pull me to you
and hold me with an iron velvet grip
which I have no desire to escape.
You’ve given me freedom
(or the illusion of it).
All I want is to know
what lies in front of me.
But you tell me nothing.
And I only wait.
And follow.
You try my trust.
You lead me blind.
Your gentle touch burns.
Your cruel cut heals.
I bleed by your hand
and rest on your stained altar.
I, a crumpled heap, can barely crawl.
You gave me wings.

Untitled

It was paid in pain and blood,
given so that I might have always
these reminders of you
etched on my flesh:

A hymn, words of praise for you,
your song unmatched;

A Cypress, holy to you,
shedding its sap-tears for eternity.

Was I delirious, or did I
feel a brush of fingertips,
cool and soothing
across my raw shoulders?

Floodlight

He says “know thyself”
and I say “I know myself”
and He says “Look again” and He
Illuminates, if you can call it that,
with light so garish it burns
and I feel like I’m going to collapse
under the weight of this divine brightness,
Icy cold, bitter hot,
shining into the recesses of my mind, my soul,
not a pore of my skin is left unseen and
I want to scream “No more!” and “Never again!”
Its like this every time. Floodlights
washing over me. I’m being scrutinized, by Him,
He forces me to look. I crawl back inside my mind
and confront. I’ve already been here, been
over this a thousand and one times but
He still says “Look there.”
How much more can I look at one fragment?
The lens magnifies the brightness, the heat
my skin feels ready to burst into flame,
And I’m claustrophobic and I can’t shatter this petri dish,
and then He retreats and the floodlights dim
and I’m burned and raw but still breathing
it’s always like this,
All in the name of “know thyself” and truth and light.

Seven

I feel your presence,
Imminent and awesome.

Seven

Bright light surrounds me,
thick incense fills my nostrils.

Seven

Infinite truth and inspiration
crackle like static in the air.

Meditative. Contemplative.
Ever questioning, still I trust.
I’ve made my promises to you.
You share your blessings with me.

Untitled

I fell asleep mumbling your prayer
And woke up feeling lost and abandoned
I knew you were still there
I could feel your presence surrounding me
But I begged you for a sign anyway
And when your prayer came back to me
In the words of a stranger
I realized that it was I who abandoned-
I left behind the greater part of myself
And for all I’d left, it wasn’t lost
I was right there just as I left
I needed you to help me find my way back to me
It’s not the first time I’ve wandered…
It won’t be the last.

Hymns

Hymn #8 To Apollo

Sing Muses of Apollo, golden-voiced son of Leto. No sound is as terrible as your bowstring when you loose your arrows, nor is none so sweet as the strings of your lyre when you play your divine song. Rescuer of man, or enemy, you heal the dying and send plagues of devistation. Awesome and awful, mortals fall to their knees in your reverence or tremble in fear. Blessed or cursed is one in your presence.

And so hail to you, Lord with power to deny or preserve life! I will remember you and another song also.

Hymn #11: to Leto, Artemis and Apollo (I include this one here as well as with the other Hellenic Gods because it is partially for Apollo.)

Fair-voiced Muses, sing of modest Leto and her divine children. Of she who is most gentle of all Olympians, loved by Zeus, dark-robed mother who traveled far, veiled one who goes unseen. Daughter of shining Phoibe, you, twin-bearing goddess are revered among motals!

And of Artemis, huntress of the forest, clad in saffron tunic, you whom no man may possess. Attended by nymphs, you roam free, unhindered by domestic bonds, protecting your wild lands and dancing with the Muses on Olympus.

and of Apollo of the lyre and silver bow, oracle-giving lord of Delphi, most beautiful of the gods, your gifts are many. You grant true visions and lead the muses in heavenly song as you pluck clear notes from your lyre.

To you, Leto, Artemis and Apollo, gentle mother and archer twins, hail! I seek your blessings and honor to my song.

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