7 Days of Valentines Poems, #7: “Song for Athena”

Athena Introducing the Personification of Painting into the Circle of the Liberal Arts, Hans Jakob Bayr, c. 1600, via the National Gallery of Art, open access
"Song for Athena"

To Autumn, my wonderful wife and best friend

Autumn, my wife, my love, 
strong, self-sufficient woman 
of Texas and of Tennessee, 
wonderful, excellent nurse: 
You are my muse, 
     the love of my life, 
     inspiration for any 
     creative moment I produce. 
You are a Greek goddess, 
     the queen of my world, 
     an Olympian who stooped low to wed me. 
You are my rock. 
     In wisdom, you counsel me. 
     In war, you strengthen me, 
     and you always fight bravely. 
You are Athene, 
     muse for greatness, 
     muse of greatness, 
     one of The Twelve, 
     a warrior and wise, 
     daughter of Zeuss, 
     daughter of the Oceanid Titan Metis. 
You are Athena, 
     courageous in bringing civilization fruit, 
     just and a bearer of law, 
     strategic and calculating, 
     artistic, creative, skillful, 
     riding into battle with heroes. 
You are steadfast Athena, 
     sister and counterpart to the god of war, 
     trusted by Zeuss to wield his Aegis 
     and to throw his thunderbolt, 
          carrying the roaring, dread head 
          of a Gorgon into battle, 
     fierce and ruthless, 
     yet compassionate and generous, 
     shielding the innocents 
     by angrily striking Ajax with madness. 
You are beautiful Athena, 
     patron goddess of heroic undertakings, 
     Zeus’s beloved and favorite child, 
     sister of Artemis and Hestia, 
     turning spinning and weaving into an art form, 
     a guardian caring for the sick of your city. 
You strike me with awe, Athena, 
     a great gray owl on your shoulder, 
     your olive trees surrounding 
     you on your temple hill. 
You protect your family and loved ones, 
     turning Arachne into a spider 
     when she insulted your familia, 
     driving the idiots insane who dare 
     touch your kin, immortal or mortal. 
You help me improve continuously, Athena, 
     with your rational eye in dealings, 
     your image statue shield in front of us, 
     driving up game when we need the food, 
     fashioning for us helmets and spears, 
     loving me with all of you, 
     and I love you with all of me. 
Yes, with you, I am better, Athena. 
     Aiding me in my quest to kill the Gorgon Medusa, 
     whose direct sight would turn any man into stone, 
     you handed me your carefully polished shield, 
     into which I looked as a mirror to observe the Gorgon, 
     and with your tender touch guiding my hand, 
     I unsheathed my sword and with one swipe 
     severed the entrancing head of Medusa. 
I will find for you a moonstone, 
     inspired by you 
     and an opalescent sky, 
          inspired by the brilliance 
          and the variety of your personality. 
The Romans crafted moonstones 
from solidified rays of the Moon itself, 
     and the Greeks received this pearl mineral 
     from the god and the goddess of the moon. 
I will fashion for you a pendant 
worthy of your goddessness, 
Autumn, Athena, Athene, Minerva, 
proud explorer of new frontiers, 
a gold, black, and brown Henry in your hands, 
     a pendant to lay above your breasts 
     for the world to see our godly love, 
          to remind you of my 
          ever growing love for you, 
               to remind me of the privilege 
               I have in being your husband. 

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