To Kasmilos

For Cody.

Hear my prayer, O cunning stealer of cattle,
master of smithcraft and sorcerous songs,
monster-killer and sailor of the wine-dark sea,
Kasmilos who came from beyond the North Wind
in search of his sister, and left with gleaming Axiokersa
as his dear wife and companion in adventure.
They say that you arrived on the sacred island
when it was under siege by Thracian pirates,
and together with Axieros and Axiokersos,
the wolflike brothers, you drove the barbarians
screaming into the waves, their bravest and strongest
left littering the shore. Once the corpses were burned
and the island purified with sulphur, bay and blood
of a sacrificed bull, the torch-bearing brothers
vouched for you and you were admitted into the mysteries
which had been given to their line for safekeeping
by the Sun and Moon, oldest of deities in this part of the world.
During the august ceremonies you beheld the Maiden
with starry veil pouring libations from a horn,
and your stout member saluted her beauty and piety
before the rest of you could even react. She modestly
did not respond, but her brothers laughed uproariously
and laughed so much that the rites had to be begun again.
Once the feasting commenced you rushed
to your ship to resume your journey
and escape your embarrassment – only to discover
slim-ankled Axiokersa waiting for you onboard.
She clasped you tight, kissed you Kasmilos
more fervently than a Thyiad Nymph, and begged
you to take her with and show her the wide world
beyond this small island, the only home she’d ever known.
And as your cock began to rise again, you agreed
and set sail for the Phoenician coast,
where men first learned to dye fabric purple.
Halfway there your ship was nearly destroyed
by a Giant of the sea, loosed by the wrathful Poseidon
to punish the people of Lemnos. You and your
new-won bride would have drowned then or worse, 
had beast-taming Axieros and swift-footed Axiokersos
not arrived, hot in pursuit of their sister and her abductor.
The three of you fought in unison,
easily subduing the creature which had
hindquarters like a fish, the head and torso of a bull,
six wildly flailing crab claws and a voice like a thunderclap
ripping the heavens asunder.
Once the thing’s corpse was sent back
deep down to the Ocean Lord’s abode,
the brothers ferried you back to Samothrace
where your marriage to Axiokersa
could be celebrated in proper style
with much feasting, song and dance
rather than through the poverty of elopement
in a fameless foreign land.
And from that day on you have been counted
as the Attendant of the Great Gods,
the reciter of many hymns and conductor of ineffable rites,
Kasmilos with unshorn locks the color of raven’s feathers,
eyes like the Sun in the Underworld, a smile bright as molten metal,
with a leather pouch at your belt full of mystic tokens
and the sign of infinity upon your chest.
Hail, and be with me as I face my own trials,
you who show us the way through the wilds
and how to return home again.