Submission to Asklepios’ Agon

To Asklepios
by Emily K., MD

Hail to You, Asklepios,
Still honored today.
Master of medicines.
Surgeon with skillful hand.
Healer of the mind at peace.

You had several shrines downtown in the city where I trained.
Tall tower hospitals lined the road from the harbor to the parliament.
Here is a shrine to the nurses who died in the Great War.
The men who cured honey-urine disease did so in these laboratories
Your own image was carved in stone above the hospital doors;
Apollon introducing You to Chiron
Money and power have changed the temples’ faces now, but the hospitals remain.
Your memorials and art are all carefully preserved.
Except one votive plea, which was discarded;
“Hospital Zone- Quiet” it read in black-on-yellow sign letters.
I last saw it perched above a worker jackhammering by the subway vent.
Sleep and dream attended Your temples in the old days
We have forgotten that.

Hail to You, Asklepios,
Still honored today.
Master of medicines.
Surgeon with skillful hand.
Healer of the mind at peace.

Quiet green trees surrounded the place where supplicants sought You
Neither Birth nor Death made a home there,
For You suffered greatly both to be born and then again to die.
Your father God brought You into life through burning flesh and brilliant fire.
You are your mother’s son too;
Coronis knew Apollon’s holiest light, yet still sought comfort with dim mortal love.
Apollon inflamed her with death and fire till at last she glowed like a goddess,
Though He rescued You before her white wings crisped to blackened ash.

Your death too, was all noise and blinding light; a thunderbolt from Zeus.
You knew the price of stealing souls back from Hades.
Yet You pitied us and brought back the mourned-for dead, easing for a while the bitterness of mortal grief.
Sympathy for the weak and merely mortal is the gift Coronis gave You.

Hail to You, Asklepios
Still honored today
Master of medicines.
Surgeon with skillful hand.
Healer of the mind at peace.

You took Your lessons from Chiron the centaur.
Chiron taught you pharmacy;
The Gorgon’s blood breeds serpents.
These bring You herbs to poison or to cure, as Your staff directs.
Chiron taught you surgery;
The deft touch that cures is Yours, to cut the sinew space apart and leave the living blood and fine filaments of sense intact.
Chiron taught you therapy;
Man is mind and animal all bound up in one;
Who better than a centaur to teach you that?
Your words brought peace to suffering souls
You gave the best sleep and healing dreams
The body healed soon after.

Hail to You, Asklepios,
Still honored today.
Master of medicines.
Surgeon with skillful hand.
Healer of the mind at peace.

Your sons were Therapeutae in your line;
Highly honoured Machaon, Podaleirios and Telesphoros.
Your wife and daughters too were blessed with skill.
I am glad to follow in their footsteps.
Epione, your beloved wife, who soothes away suffering.
Aceso, who walks alongside the patient in their journey.
Iaso, who restores to strength and function.
Aglaea, who adorns the body once more with beauty.
Hygeia, who makes whole and clean.
Panacea, who cures all ills.

I don’t practice near Your tall towered temples in the city far away.
I have a few beds in a hospital out in the country,
A few days a week dedicated to Your service.
Still, God of Physicians, teach me a little of Your skill.
Even a little of Your quiet
Someday I will need Your help; may I find You in the care I will receive.

Let me remember the words You taught me;
Who bears the serpent, serves.

Hail to You, Asklepios,
Still honored today.
Master of medicines.
Surgeon with skillful hand.
Healer of the mind at peace.

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Posted on July 11, 2017, in Bacchic Things, hellenic things, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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