by Erin Fortner

Hoof and horn and tufted tail
Lion’s roar and shaking mane
Forked tongue and slithering scale
Dionysos, I call your name again

Creeping leaves and ivy twines
Tall and sturdy evergreens
Fruit that bursts from off the vine
Dionysos, I call you, come to me

I call out to the lord of madness
I call to the dying and rising king
I call to the banisher of sadness
Dionysos, I call for the blessings you bring

by Galina Krasskova

I will swallow Your blessings whole
and pay the price
as I am loosed from this world.

You bleed yourself into my mouth
and I am torn apart from within.

You, like the land itself,
are a hungry leopard

and I am full
of ripe, good things
to eat.

Devour me.

by Galina Krasskova

You understand wild things.
You delight in that which is
by its nature savage.
These things hold no surprises
no horrors
no fear
before Your wine-stained gaze.
Dark things You know
and the taste of blood on the tongue
and the joy of ripping bone from flesh
and dancing
and laughter.
Violence is at the heart
of Your nature too.
There is no need
to forcibly soothe
the wilderness of my spirit
in Your presence;
and for that,
I am grateful.

In Praise of the Devourer
by Galina Krasskova

I seek the One Who devours.
I seek the One Who tears open the soul
Dissolution. Liberation
to be torn apart
and spat back out
by the God who dances
with ecstatic women
in haunted groves
making mountains move.

It is never enough.
It will never be enough.
not so long as a human heart beats
and human flesh encloses a spirit
hungry as a ravening wolf.
Let me out
Let me out
Let me out
There is a scream in my soul
and I will lay myself out before You
in order to give it voice.
Tear me open, Devourer.
Your praises will ever flow
from my lips.

Chasing Bounty
by Galina Krasskova

I have tasted You,
caught Your scent in the air
spice and musk and danger
covered my head
trembled, my mind filled
with images of ivy and blood:
blood colored grapes
and blood thirsty soil.
Your presence threatens
like thunder echoing along the perimeter
of my world and I avert my gaze
when You draw near
lest I see Mysteries
that are mine neither to see
nor to covet.

On other days,
when everything is awash
in a wine dark veil
I have knelt
with head thrown back
eyes tightly closed
while You danced around me
pouring Yourself through the flesh
of Your bull
and I know You to have at Your core
a yawning void. and laughter
and madness
violent fury,
and sweetest ecstatic bliss.
I know at Your core
You are a Ravager.
I know at Your core,
You devour.
All good things are born in terror.
All holy things leave their scars.

It bothers me to find my words locked away.
I want to praise You
with sweet word-knots crafted as carefully
as when I celebrate my other God…
Who shredded His way through my heart.
You know which One I mean.
I constantly fall short of the proper note though.
The right chords do not sound.
I dance around the edges of Your power.
In another life, another place, another time
I think i could lose myself in You.

Instead, when I plead for inspiration
to write a prayer of praise
a paean of thanks and longing
I am given instead the image of a sad, fragile,
waif-like girl. Her heart is a broken shattered thing
a vessel cracked in two, and Her loneliness makes me weep.
The foggy grey and sapphire hued landscape in which she wanders
pouring out her grief and terror
is writ upon the broken pathways of my heart too,
the churning of my belly,
and the keening cries against which my teeth are always locked.
She found me in that desolation long, long ago
and she taught me her songs,
and where to find beauty in the face of loss,
and the magic of a well wounded sacrifice.

I will always bring Your Erigone flowers
and food that nourishes
and tokens to warm the soul
in the cold and the dark
and for Her dog too.
Maybe I will give Her music
against the whispering silence
the sad stillness of that place.
and maybe she will dance.
and that will have to suffice for now
as my song of praise
to Her Lord.

Hangover and spiritual alcoholism
by Narkaios

As morning dew, rising sun and singing birds bring back my body from apparent death I feel myself crawling up within me. My soul, my core, a shining star, returning from the nights embrace. But as I find my way back into this world and try to focus my vision on the slightly crimson colored shards of broken glass around me… as I try to get accustomed to the flush of icy light, I know that something’s wrong.

My vessel aches, my breath is shallow, my longing for you is stronger than ever! The limbs of my very essence tremble as I it rises withing me. They shake uncontrolled and any attempt to master them results in bitter frustration. I fail to find poetic words for my distress, my thirst for you is drying me up. Like lightnings a few memories of last night break through.

Dancing, laughing, loving, shaking, glowing, running, screaming, beating, eating, flirting, singing, meeting, mating, heating, hating, raving… ecstasy.

And all of it at once, while sitting in front of a single glass of deep red liquid, wreathed with ivy. I recall singing strange hymns and uttering oaths over the high stemmed piece of glass, drums beating their rhythm into my veins, boiling the life that flows through them, the tunes of an imaginary flute, driving me mad.

All of it, not in the wild greenery of foreign woods or fields filled with poisonous flowers, no… all of it right there, in my living room. And yet I wonder how I managed to slip into my bed.

Oh beloved, I break into pieces when I think of loosing you. My tongue turns to dust, when not able to sing your name. God, I see why they came to call you Lord of the Vine. Your gift to us is only a reminder of what the absence of your true essence will be like, once we crossed the boundaries of tasting you, once addiction grips…. once devotion settles…

Searching For Dionysos
by Aridela Pantherina

I think of You when night-time breezes
With sighs and secrets
I imagine every man and god should bear a thyrsus.
I feel Your dark curls against my eyelids,
Ivy shivers along my thighs a wildness rising, reaching, clawing
Blurring the lines Tell me of fear, of crowns of stars, or thorns
I yearn to leap from bulls (head over heels) and make it all seem like a dance.
I would follow You,
Nameless, nameless, god
The inner voice I couldnt find, the darkest blood red wine
A labyrinth of vines, the madness inside
You whisper Drink. And I die.
Oh, to be twice-born.

To Dionysos
by Aridela Pantherina

My god,
I hope you know
that I could never not be devoted to you.
Though I know I’ve seen only a fraction,
walked little of this labyrinth,
and still question my intuition,
you are the grand hologram,
the lightning strike that cannot be unseen
even when I didn’t know I had the eyes for it.
If you never spoke a word to me,
never stroked my skin to gooseflesh
or caught me as I danced recklessly in your name,
it is all only to remember the truth,
(which is eternal)
that you are in my blood, my tears, my breath,
my love and longing,
for this life (Life!)
filling me to the brim.
And even when I pass away this body
whose limbs have swayed and lept, knelt and walked,
wrought and ached, for you.
Still, you will be there.
I know and I remember.

by Aridela Pantherina

I think this snake has been stuck
in my throat for ages.
the dark weighs in, with sharp edges
of whispers and steel,
and phantoms in
the hundreds (if I could see)
I’m sure.
I am lost.
The shadows, too, are yours.
(and the madness)
I summon the syllables,
and a memory of another life,
of laughter and lights and
the wild careening of women in the mountains…
my god!
it may as well be myth.
Somehow, my voice the weakest of sounds,
but still, your name
(and the madness)
your name
the flicker of a torch
in strange periphery!
With the barest glimmer, you have
exploded my world outwards,
like a star reborn.
If I have form,
if I have distance…
the light beckons
I release my breath like a prayer, and
take off the blindfold.

To Dionysus
Merri-Todd Webster

How can I not pray to you, who gave Ariadne
the gift which I have always wanted: The love
of a god? Yet the memory of Pentheus and Agave
is always in my mind.

Who will I be if
I approach you? The abandoned princess beloved,
crowned in the heavens, or the maddened mother
tearing apart her child?

But the sight of you dancing
draws me near again and again. I can’t resist
the curls of your hair, your hips’ swaying. Why
must you be so alluring and so terrifying, all
at once? How can I stay away?

I would run
if you pursued me, and that would be so much
easier, to flee in fear and be turned into a tree,
a doe, a dove. Harder by far to be attracted
and have to come freely, fearing only
to become my true self.


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