Poems


Tribute to Hestia

Love Greek mythology. For an explanation of some of the elements of the poem, scroll down to the bottom first.

Tribute to Hestia

Divine Hestia, when first
The light of Helios lit upon thee
Then was Beauty renamed
And all that came before thee
Faded without renown.
Venus wept at thy feet
And hid her face--
Her vanity subdued.
She became in an instant
As naught but a servant--
Bearing a vial of oil
At thine altar.

Beloved daughter of Gaea
Who loveth the hearth,
Thou tendest still thy sacred fires
In grace and silence.
Thy lambs graze peacefully
In the meadows of Delphi.
Sweet lover of the Phoenix
Awaiting rebirth--
He lights upon thine arm
And sleeps against thy breast.
Even strangers warm themselves
Within the circle of thy sanctuary.

Likewise tend I the flame
Thou didst kindle in me
When first I partook of thy hospitality
And beheld thy glorious veil--
As fragrant and fair
As thy mother's warm velvet gown
After summer rain.
Thine eyes did move me
As majestic wind through
Willow's weeping boughs--
Enlivened. Bewitched.

Cherished Hestia,
The golden apple of Eris
Is naught but dross
Beside thee.
In me it hath no power,
For thy loveliness
And thy virtue have taken me.
In wonder before thee,
Thou first and last,
I am without defense.
Nay, not even Charon's staff
Shall divide me e'er from thee.

--Holly Robbins
copyright 2007


Background:

* Hestia--Goddess of Hearth and Home
* Helios--the Titan god of the sun before Apollo took over
* Venus--the equivalent of Aphrodite--Goddess of Love and Beauty
* Gaea--Mother Earth
* Delphi--a place known for its wise and peaceful populace
* Phoenix--I'm sure you know what a phoenix is, but I wanted to point out specifically the symbolism of being born of fire.
* "the circle of thy sanctuary"--Hestia's symbol is a circle, signifying a desire to enclose all people within the circle of her love, regardless of who they are.
* golden apple of Eris--Eris is a sprite of strive and the constant companion of Ares, the God of war. She was sinister and her greatest joy was to throw her gholden apple between friends who would then fight over the apple and quickly become enemies.l
* Charon--the "ferryman" who carries his dead passengers across the river Styx to Hades, god of the underworld
* "The first and the last"--Hestia is considered, in Greek mythology, to be "the first and the last" because when she was born, her father, Cronus, fearing that his children would overthrow him as he had overthrown his own father (Uranus), swallowed her whole (along with four subsequent siblings). She was the first one swallowed by her father. When he (most ungracefully and unwillingly) expelled the children, she was the last one out. Hence, Hestia is considered "the first and the last." I think this is significant because mothers usually are the first and the last in most things; the first one up and the last one to bed, etc. When Zeus offered her a throne and a place with the rest of the gods, Hestia refused it and opted instead to tend the sacred hearth.

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