Third Entry to the Agon for Juno
by M.T. Webster
I approach you, Dea Juno, Juno Regina: I see you
standing over me with queenly mien. Queen of heaven,
queen of gods, sovereign lady, you preside in state
on the Capitoline Hill with Jupiter and Minerva,
your husband and his daughter. Like Hera in Hellas,
you own the peacock as your bird; the stars are your eyes,
the rainbow your handmaid, the clouds your veil.
I come closer, and you are Juno Moneta, Juno Curitis.
Wrapped in the aegis, you advise the sacred king
and wield your spear in defense of the people.
Under your protection auguries are issued, coins
are minted, and you become the giver and preserver
of wealth. Records, too, are in your storehouse,
for it is memory that advises and counsels us at need.
I come closer to find Juno Sospita, Juno at Lanuvium,
mistress of fauns, she who purifies with whips.
Under your direction the Luperci hound but do not harm;
pain and laughter drive out the winter’s filth.
Juno Seispes Mater Regina, Savior, Mother, Queen,
your temple is a grove, and as Juno Caprotinae
you bring together slave women and free in revels
and accept the sacrifice of the lusty goat.
If I approach closer still, I see you as Juno Lucina,
she who brings to light, the midwife who helps
the birthing mother, who opens the doors of the womb
that the child may journey from dark to light.
You are our helper in the deepest pain, in the hardest
labour, in the most daring task: Bringing life to light,
bringing children from our bodies. Protectress
of marriage, of children, of matrons, you still
remind us that our sovereignty is our own.
At last I come face to face with you, great goddess,
and find your face to be a mirror of my own.
For my own inner deity, guardian spirit, better self
is also called juno. Or should I say that my face
is the mirror to yours, and if I look at you, Savior,
Mother, Queen, Wife, Adviser, Purifier, Defender,
I may become all this as well? Therefore I look to you,
Juno Dea, Juno Regina; I bow to you, great goddess,
divine matron, heavenly sovereign; I praise you,
glorious Juno, of peacock, spear, and cloud.