The Maenads

- 1929-2018
Somewhere I read 
that when they finally staggered off the mountain 
into some strange town, past drunk, 
hoarse, half naked, blear-eyed, 
blood dried under broken nails 
and across young thighs, 
but still jeering and joking, still trying 
to dance, lurching and yelling, but falling 
dead asleep by the market stalls, 
sprawled helpless, flat out, then 
middle-aged women, 
respectable housewives, 
would come and stand nightlong in the agora 
silent 
together 
as ewes and cows in the night fields, 
guarding, watching them 
as their mothers 
watched over them. 
And no man 
dared 
that fierce decorum.

More by Ursula K. Le Guin

Hymn to Time

Time says “Let there be”
every moment and instantly
there is space and the radiance
of each bright galaxy.

And eyes beholding radiance.
And the gnats’ flickering dance.
And the seas’ expanse.
And death, and chance.

Time makes room
for going and coming home
and in time’s womb
begins all ending.

Time is being and being
time, it is all one thing,
the shining, the seeing,
the dark abounding.

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Hymn to Dionysos

O Insewn God—born from Zeus' thigh—
   some folk say in Drakanon,
some in windy Ikaros,
   others say in Naxos,
or by the deep-eddying river Alpheos,
pregnant Semele bore you to thunder-loving Zeus.
Others say you were born in Thebes, Lord,
but all of them lie:
   the father of men and gods gave birth to you
far from people, hidden from white-armed Hera.
There is a certain Nysa, a towering mountain, 
   blooming with woods,
far from Phoenicia, near the streams of Egypt . . .
[missing lines]
"…People will raise many statues in your temples.
Semele, since […] was cut into three, every third year
humans will sacrifice to you a hundred perfect bulls."
So spoke the son of Kronos nodding his dark-blue brows-
the king's divine hair swirled about
his immortal head, as he shook great Olympos.
With those words, wise Zeus nodded his command.
Be gracious, Insewn, maker of maenads.
We bards sing of you first and last; there is no way
to forget you and still remember holy song.
O Dionysos, God sewn in Zeus' thigh, rejoice
with your mother Semele, whom some call Thyone.