Hymn to Asklepios


From the old KALLISTI:

Secrets of nature burnt in your breast, consuming all.
As a spark ignites oil, surging in an explosion of light,
so you let the flickering gold on the table consume
judgment and lead you to your present divinity.
Athene gave you secrets: death’s stillness, the beauty
found in all life: with these you pressed poisonous
healing against cold lips, transferring your fire.
Fear motivated Zeus to reproach you: a tempest
rose in the evening sky and you, great physician,
counted yourself among his lightning’s casualties.
In dying, you triumphed: Apollon protects his own,
those whose veins unite his ichor with mortal blood.
At the forge, the far-shooter raised his bow and shot
lightning-makers in the static-filled electric laboratory,
punishing them so utterly that great Olympos shook.
The ambrosia-filled goblet fell from Ganymede’s
service-worn fingertips; a crack split Zeus’s throne.
To bring peace, they made you a…

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