Delia/Thargelia submission #7

Gymnopaidai (For Apollon)

A choral dance of a hundred youths, Apollon,
used to stamp your praises into the sand of dance-grounds
with sweat and steps and skin uncovered.
What songs did they sing?  What figures did they form?
At Thera and at Sparta, it was not Dionysos
who was praised with phallic dances, but you,
by a hundred boys on the verge of adulthood.
And, did the young women, enthralled at the sight,
likewise honor you in similar rites
hidden from the eyes of the public?
All-seeing Phoebus, the courser across the sky,
Lykeios, fast-running wolf of Hyperborea,
even secret rites are known to you
from city to city, isle to isle, and on every continent.
I am no civic patron, nor voice in the assembly,
and the youths of every town in this land
are no longer taught how to honor the gods.
I cannot present you with even ten youths,
young men and women and those who are neither,
to dance for you under the cover of summer sun
with nothing but clouds’ shadow adorning them.
Therefore, instead, I offer you these words,
simple, naked, clumsy, but devoted,
the words which come with age more easily
than fluidity and grace come with youth’s vigor.
Would that it were a thousand dancers,
but our thousand praises and paeans magnify you
great Apollon, son of Leto, brother of Artemis,
the Pythian, patron of Muses:  may my words dance for you!

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2 thoughts on “Delia/Thargelia submission #7

  1. Gymnopaidai (For Apollon) A choral dance of a hundred youths, Apollon, used to stamp your praises into the sand of dance-grounds with sweat and steps and skin uncovered. What songs did they sing? What figures did they form? At Thera and at Sparta, it was not Dionysos who was praised with phallic dances, but you, by a hundred boys on the verge of adulthood. And, did the young women, enthralled at the sight, likewise honor you in similar rites hidden from the eyes of the public? All-seeing Phoebus, the courser across the sky, Lykeios, fast-running wolf of Hyperborea, even secret rites are known to you from city to city, isle to isle, and on every continent. I am no civic patron, nor voice in the assembly, and the youths of every town in this land are no longer taught how to honor the gods. I cannot present you with even ten youths, young men and women and those who are neither, to dance for you under the cover of summer sun with nothing but clouds’ shadow adorning them. Therefore, instead, I offer you these words, simple, naked, clumsy, but devoted, the words which come with age more easily than fluidity and grace come with youth’s vigor. Would that it were a thousand dancers, but our thousand praises and paeans magnify you great Apollon, son of Leto, brother of Artemis, the Pythian, patron of Muses: may my words dance for you!

  2. Pingback: Just FYI… | Aedicula Antinoi: A Small Shrine of Antinous

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