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Queen of the Wild Ones

September 18, 2009

Io Artemis, Queen of the Wild Ones!
She who protects the young and innocent,
She who guides women through childhood, marriage—
Until they finally lift up their veil,
And leave Artemis for Aphrodite,
Abandoning chastity for marriage—
They abandon their claim to the hunters
Who roam with Artemis, Queen of the Hunt,
But she is never forgotten by them.

She is remembered like a long-lost friend,
The distant memory of a flower,
Opening its petals; bearing its scent,
Taking them to the forests of their queen,
Where the wolves and deer play together;
A world of eternal sunshine and bliss,
Of wonder and wildness: the world of gods.

Even when the girls cross that final line
And they become girls-no-more, women now;
She still keeps a place for them in her world,
Where they could hunt and dance in red-hot blood
And sing in the amber glow of firelight.
They cannot come back to her in body;
They are kept from her by their love of men,
Or of one man—their man—it matters not;
The Wild Girl lies only with her nymphai,
And she does not know the touch of a man.
But they can always return in spirit,
After the smoke clears; after they are ash;
And the weight of mortal life rests no more
Upon their shoulders and delicate throats.
 
She welcomes them back, then; spirits, daimones,
They become like the nymphs; they dance for her,
Sing for her, love her; they hunt in her name;
They scream at the tall trees and low bushes,
At the flowers that waver in the breeze,
So that her echo might dance forever,
Even if—by some awful twist of fate—
She, Artemis, Wild Girl, dances no more;
Even if she lies broken and bleeding,
An angel fallen from nowhere at all
But the song in the hearts and on the lips
Of her girls, human and divine alike.
 
But such things would not ever come to pass;
For she could outrun even the Moirai.
She dances faster than the Anemoi,
Swifter than her nymphai companions,
And, yes, far quicker than the thread of fate.
She is bound by them, the sisters of fate;
And yet she is not. She is free to roam,
To dance, to refuse to submit to men
Who leer after her; instead she strikes,
Changing them, shooting them; killing them all.
 
She is not delicate, a pretty toy
To be dressed and shown like a common dog.
No: she is the cruel mistress of the wild,
The queen of girl-children and young women,
Of all animals – predator and prey.
She is one of her father’s favourites;
She rules the wild places with her nymphai,
Screaming and stomping and dancing all night;
Even the day is not safe from her yells,
And from the blood that drips from her red lips.

She is the bright sun, and she is the moon;
She reflects her own light, girl-queen, child-god;
And yet truly she is none of these things.
She is the wilderness, the screams of birth,
The blood that spills and the earth that yields.
She is where the wild things are: she rules them;
Artemis Hêgemonê, queen of night,
Queen of day; Olympian girl-goddess.
She who answers to none, and who accepts
Any who offer their spirit to her,
Who dance, scream and spill rich blood in her name:
Artemis, Artemis! Io, io!

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