I’ve been in dark groves (and quite pushed out of my comfort zone), poured wine onto the soil, shivered, and tied a red ribbon to a cypress tree for Erigone and the Athenian girls. The Anthesteria is a powerful festival! Here’s a poem I wrote for Erigone, whose father Icarius was a wine-bestower who was murdered by drunken rustics who didn’t understand what had happened to them when they had too much.
The drunken rage of rude shepherd boys—
Violence lurks under the epidermis;
Ply them with wine and they go berserk.
Icarius the gift giver bringing a god’s wares,
Was set upon by hung over fools.
They pounded him into pulp,
Trod on him until the purpled blood flowed
Into the arid soil of Attica.
But his daughter Erigone, guided
by faithful hound, found her father’s
corpse tossed aside in the brush,
In the aromatic bushes of the maquis,
The lavender, rosemary and laurel.
The flies swarmed and she screamed,
A wail that shivered the foliage.
Lacerated with grief, she wound
The rope of her dress around the bough
of the tallest of the trees that had witnessed
the foul crime. She tied it to her neck
in careful noose with deft fingers skilled
at weaving, and kicked off.
Strange fruit dangling at the dawn of history,
Poor Erigone, her fair body
swinging, swinging, swinging