Thinking about potential English cultus/UPG things and writing little bits of prose for them… what do you guys reckon? (Heavily skewed towards Southern England because I don’t often get to go up North. I’ve tried to include bits but…eh… I dunno)
Wheat shifts from lush green to yellow
gold as Demeter walks. The summer rain has passed, it glistens on the
leaves and on her brow. Her lips are bright as strawberries, her
breath sweet and heady as oilseed rape.
Poseidon crashes against the Whitby
coast. His serpents draw the cliffs down into the sea and ancient
creatures are exposed from their resting place in the rock. Our tiny
island is held in his embrace as he carries our ships from shore to
shore. In Portsmouth we salute him at the naval base and build
monuments from the wreck of the Mary Rose. The gulls call his name as
they soar inland.
Aphrodite comes ashore, her eyes bright
as the Dover cliffs, skin golden as Cornish sands. The collared doves
bring her flowers for she is the English Rose.
Hermes flits through the Underground,
carried by the coursing breeze of the Tube. Each tap of an Oyster
Card is the beating of his winged sandals. Every letter dropped into
a red post box is an offering. Anywhere where money changes hands is
his realm, from the marbled floors of Harrods to the dull neon of a
Camden kebab shop, for he is the only one faster than the City.
Hestia crouches in the doorways of
closed shops, bringing warmth to the homeless. She slips an extra
pound coin into the hand of a Big Issue seller and never takes the
magazine. Her hearth may only be in a pilot light or in the heating
element of an electric kettle, but she is always there, warm,
Athena walks through the Bodleian
stacks placing blessings on the books hidden underneath the Oxford
streets so that students may succeed and those who apply for readers’
cards may be accepted. She stands in the corner of a Shetland home
and smiles as a grandmother teaches her grandchildren to knit Fair
Isle patterns. A barn owl cries in the cold night air and she moves
in the ghostly flicker of its wings.
Apollo accompanies doctors through the
wards of Great Ormond Street and sends hopeful smiles to the lips of
the children there. He stands in the break room behind MRC
researchers’ labs and keeps their coffee hot. He lurks backstage with
the roadies at the Electric Ballroom, the O2 and the Roundhouse,
singing along to songs of modern muses. He was there at the 100 Club
and at the Cavern, at Glastonbury and the Isle of Wight. He is always
Artemis sprints through Dartmoor
past long forgotten ruins and lonely homes. New Forest ponies gallop
at her side, between the trees and heathers, forcing traffic to
still. The mountains carry her through the lush green of the Peak
District. Her stride is vast and covers cities too, in the wail of an
urban fox and the hovering wings of a kestrel above the motorway or
the rabbits that burrow beside Heathrow airport. There are corners of
the wild everywhere.
Dionysus dances in a Manchester rave,
liquor on his lips, eyes bright as glow-sticks. He follows the music
through cellar clubs and secret happenings, to counter-culture bars
and Soho drag shows. He lies in a punt in the haze of May Morning as drunken revelers leap, singing, from Magdalen Bridge into the gentle river below. He wanders through each theatre, watching West
End musicals, Stratford Shakespearean revivals, and Edinburgh Fringe
art-house pieces, as every stage is his altar no matter what is
Ares joins Help for Heroes campaigns and stands aside veterans with poppies on their breasts. He carries coffins draped with Union Jacks through Wootton Bassett, head bowed, as mourners scatter flowers. He stands, fists and voice raised, with protesters and activists, carrying their banners as they cry for justice. He shelters refugees cramped into cargo containers and watches over them until they find safety. His spears pierce injustice, his shield blocks hatred.
Hera attends every wedding, every civil
partnership, every hand fasting. A couple marry in their lunch break
at a registers office and she is there. A lesbian wedding in a local
hall receives her blessing. She watches from afar as an
Anglo-Pakistani family celebrates for four days with bright clothes
and painted hands, for though she is not among their gods, all
marriages please her. She is the Queen above Queens, outlasting
mortal monarchies and outshining all.
And Zeus? Zeus is in the English rain,
that nourishes and punishes, floods and flourishes. He is called by
the cries of Red Kites that circle, renewed, in clear skies. His
strength is in the ancient oaks of Sherwood Forest and in the memory
of lost wolves.