To Eris

On the occasion of the fifth day of the lunar month.¹ 🌒

Lady of blades and of apples,
of stratagems devised in retribution,
the clashes of bronze are yours,
strong words at marriage-feasts,
this cycle of anxious rewording.
Daughter of Night, your insatiable
will drives all things into mixture,
as bright oil meets opaque water.
You are the one who draws on
the manacles of fate, cause-effect
as certain as any apple thrown;
these chains of years are countless.
You have thrown open the river
of division like a dam breaking.
You have set yourself upon the field,
rendering what was once an us apart.

O Relentless One, please relent.
O Taster of Blood, please let go.
O Lady of Sorrow, pivot this strife,
persuaded by Zeus and the Moirai.

Goddess, you delight in revolutions,
the unsettling of the quotidian
that jars us enough to look up
poets have written so many words
of your harshness, not of your good.
You are the one who breaks open,
who overwhelms to make us see
divine truth that revolves, that is ever still,
as reliable as well-ordered mysteries
whose secrets grant salvation at midnight.
At the end comes recombination,
water cycling again to its source.

O Striking One, let the conflict
in our lives bring us to virtue’s heights,
to good ends and hard-won unification,
accompanied by the healing gladness
the dancing Horai and Kharites bring.

  1. Hesiod, Works and Days, trans. Daryl Hine, ln. 789-791, mentions that the fifth day of the month is when “they say that the [Erinyes] attended the birth of [Horkos], who was borne by [Eris] to make all perjurers suffer.” Some people thus give offerings to these gods on this day. I include myself in this number.

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