The fabulous futility of mortality
Hanging from the tree
the maiden weaves
violent and erotic images in her mind.
With her final breath she cries,
“I long for the wine of Dionysos,
and his deliverance!”
Lifeless, her body swings
as in a dance of remorse
while the wind blows and the leaves fall
to the moist, black earth.
One day they will cut the tree down
and make a mask from its wood
to be worn on the midsummer festival
when they light the fires for the Baptizer.
by Fiona Husch
The first time you danced for the Wild God
You were drunk on holy wine.
Hair loosened, feet kicking and stomping the fertile ground.
Dionysos taught your Father to make the holy drink.
And the second time you danced for the Wild God
You crushed grapes beneath your feet so that others could be
When you found Ikarios slain for the God’s gift,
You danced again for the Wild God
Feet kicking at empty air, then swinging in the breeze
Hello down there! Have you brought me a doll to keep me company?
It’s lonely at times hanging from this tree.
Want to know how I wound up with a pain in my neck?
You’ll have to suspend your disbelief for this one!
It all started when I saw some grapes. The most beautiful, succulent grapes you could imagine.
They called out to me. So sweet and so enticing just hanging there.
A hunger like no other built up within me. I must have these grapes!
When I went to pluck them, I got a little more than I bargained for.
The grapes became eyes. Dark, piercing, gorgeous eyes that stared right through me.
His body was as succulent as those grapes. Virile and ripe with passion and energy.
A soft face atop a wonderfully hard body.
Cat-like, my demon lover pounced on me, kissing and biting my neck.
Goodness me, I couldn’t get enough.
The feeling, the juices, the pure bliss of it all.
Together, we brought each to joy beyond joy. The freedom of cold air and warm flesh was divine.
His hands took their fill of me and mine entwined around my lover’s torso.
Together in the agon of love! Together in the combat of ecstasy!
O may the Cypriot be praised!
I woke up. It’s been a while.
He wanted to give my father a gift. He said it would bring joy to all mortals.
“What’s in those funny sacks?”
“My glory. My blessing. The sacrament that will free all of my people. My love, your father will be the one to dispense it amongst them.”
I got up. I heard the dog howling.
“What’s wrong, girl? Where’s Papa? Find Papa!”
My heart sank. I couldn’t believe. They killed him.
They didn’t know what was going on. Papa was so happy he didn’t stop to ask if there were any side effects.
People thought he was a murderer. They killed my Papa!
I couldn’t take it. I just couldn’t stand it anymore!
“I’m coming, Papa! You won’t be alone!”
I found a rope. I climbed to the top of the tree and down I went.
There was a snap. Then nothing.
He found me. Like how I found Him.
Hanging enticingly, swaying in the wind.
His rage was insatiable. He demanded that others accompany me.
All of the girls took on my fate.
His brother told them that only one thing would stop the madness and their daughters from hanging with me.
“Hang dolls in the trees in place of the girls and this will make amends for your crimes”.
I live in the stars now. Papa and Maera came too.
We’ve been all given new life.
It’s funny how He was right in the end about us being free.
But sometimes I like to come back and swing in my tree.
Now I get to be the one who gets plucked!
Isn’t that funny how that all worked out?
I remember you who remained faithful to your father even unto death,
Erigone crowned with solemn rites during the festival of flowers,
when the daughters of our city swing in somber joy for you
while the streets run with wine
and revelers flush from the feast of the ox-shed marriage.
Erigone who knows the maze of sorrow
and the seduction of the grape,
Erigone who sits beside the well where the white cypress grows
and waits for those who walk the thirsty road of dust.
Erigone who shoulders the burdens that are impossible for us to endure
and finds the strength to do so in her vulnerability.
We honor you, foremost of the martyrs of the vine
and ask that you guide us into restoration and that our ancestors never thirst
and know no hunger.
To Erigone II
Erigone whose tender feet know the dance
of those who desire the ecstatic embrace of the deliverer who comes from afar,
wearing an unfamiliar face and bearing unexpected gifts,
gifts that tear open the heart
and free the mind of the shackles of past conditioning
so that one can kneel trembling in the presence of the holy beloved.
Hear my prayers and help me to become a better vessel
for the pouring out of offerings
that enrich the land and the house that receives all gods who wander in the guise of suppliants.
As every act of yours was an act of devotion
– even the act of swinging from the tree for your father –
never let me falter or lose sight of what and who I am devoted to.