To Hebe

Hail to you Hebe, O maiden daughter
of Zeus who puts on the form of eagles,
Lord of the heights of snow-capped Mount Olympos
and his beloved wife, cow-eyed Hera,
the fierce, mighty and independent Goddess
of marriage and other womanly things.
You are cupbearer at the banquets
of the Blessed Immortals, O Hebe,
ensuring a tranquil and convivial atmosphere
throughout the festivities.
You also watch over the fine youth of our fine city,
and make sure that they are healthy, fit and happy
as they wind their way towards adulthood like the vines
that bring you so much pleasure,
free of the pain, pride and perversion
so prevalent in other cities
that do not know your sacred rites.
Though once you loved and were promised to another,
you make Herakles who rose from the pyre God of Ordeals
unspeakably happy by maintaining a well-ordered domicile,
and fulfilling his boundless appetites,
though you were not sure at first that this union
ordained against the wishes of your mother
by your loud-thundering father
would work – but it did.
Surprise of surprises, that brawny, hairy man
knew well how to treat his women,
so that each felt herself to be a Lady
whose worth was beyond calculation.
He helped out with the chores,
he brought home lots of meat from the hunt,
and thanks to Omphale he was an expert
at weaving and spinning, and really kinky in bed,
which Deïaneira was never down with.
So hail to you Hebe who wears the ivy crown
and carries the thyrsos in the nocturnal revels of Lyaios,
and may you continue to find joy and fulfillment
as the lawful mate of Herakles the lion-hearted,
brother and eternal friend of Bakcheios
who roughly took Dίa before setting off
to conquer India, a numerous and doughty nation
much-loved by Hera the Queen.
Somehow they made up during the war,
which made your heart jubilant
for nothing is more hateful to you, Hebe, than quarrels –
especially quarrels among family members,
who should love one another as those two now do
with understanding, forgiveness, mutual goals and charity.
(Or at least a Charity, who loves the milk of the poppy,
red-capped mushrooms and smoke of the star-flower.)