To Athene of Himera

For Alisa.

I call to the industrious Goddess who collects with her sisters
Sicilian flowers of every hue and fragrance,
and who delights in the musical laughter of the playful Nymphs
that lure lovesick shepherd lads to their ivied grottoes
and sport upon the shores of the warm springs
that bubbled forth to welcome the dusty and road-weary hero
when Herakles first came to this triskelion isle
in search of the wide-ranging cattle of Geryon,
Athene who wove the robe of her lightning-hurling father
Zeus Aitnaios, on which is represented the entire cosmos
he governs like some just and magnanimous philosopher-king,
the continents, the seas, the windy sky and gold-gleaming aither
all rendered so realistically you’d swear
you were staring into the mirror of Dionysos,
Owl-eyed One who wears the Gorgon head over her goatskin cloak,
and proudly bears the distaff and ash-spear,
protector of our beloved city, our dear homes
and the precious graves of our illustrious ancestors and warrior dead,
teacher of Epeios of the skillful hands and wonder-working tools
and clever Gelon who used strategy and brute force
to drive out the haughty Carthaginians.
And may you, Athene, hear my prayers 
as you heard theirs, granting what I most desire
– clear sight, pious understanding, boundless inspiration
and a will that never tires of worshiping the blessed Immortals
in the right, true and time-proven traditions of my people.