To Taras

Hail to you O dolphin-riding Taras,
bearer of the torch of the Mysteries
like Iakchos whom you resemble,
and a spindle full of the best Apulian
wool dyed purple, as if you were
Kloster, the child of dance-loving Arachne;
but, as everyone knows, you are the son
of Poseidon of Tainaron whose temple
lies near the cave where Orpheus emerged
from the underworld and Satyria, beautiful
as a marsh flower, the daughter of Minos,
proud ruler of Knossos, the Troy of the West.
You, Lord, are a bane to pirates, kidnappers
and cheats, those honorless wolves of the sea,
and a blessing to honest folk who just want
to fish and sail off the coasts of lovely Italy,
for you Taras, have been given the power
to summon winds and send forth the wave-horses
of your father, as well as the ability to calm them.
Though you show yourself as a plump, naked boy
like you were when your ship was smashed to pieces
and you were cast ashore on the spot where,
years later, Phalanthos would lead his virgin-born men to,
after many adventures and many losses, founding
a Lakedaimonian colony named Taras after you,
that would, with your assistance, grow into
one of the greatest cities of Greater Greece –
but that is merely how you seem, for you, Taras,
are mighty indeed, and quick to hear and quick to respond
to the prayers of those in need, master of the gymnasium
and one who marches at the head of the Tarantine army,
fighting hard to bring them victory and safely home to their families,
protector of the lands around your city, and all the sheep, bees,
and vineyards that they contain, Taras the friend of Bakcheios
who cures destructive madness with secret dances and strange
nocturnal rites that will bring your fine city fame for centuries
to come. Hail Taras, tireless hero, may you thrive
as you make your people to thrive.

3 thoughts on “To Taras

  1. There is a tiny museum in Clearwater, Florida with a display about the worship of Dionysos and of Taras, and also a display about Poseidon’s temples. Somebody obviously put a lot of love into creating it.

    This is where I first heard of Taras. I am very happy to see him praised again.

    Thank you for sharing this new hymn.

    Hail Taras!


      1. It was an exhibit on the history of cetaceans in art. Like, cetaceans as subjects of art, not cetaceans making art. That would be a whole other thing.

        Anyway. Dolphins and porpoises everywhere. They basically had a hoard of dolphin shaped coins and dolphin vases and dolphin-decorated inscriptions, which is why those two Gods were the focus.


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