In the vale of deepest forest,
where Night shines despite the midday Sun,
Artemis gathers court -
Maidens, ruthless damsels, and nymphs -
all royal ladies of the Wild Wood.
By the bank of winding stream,
they shirk their tunics,
they lay aside their bows,
and dance, hair streaming,
to the flute and horn -
the baying hounds a darkling hymn,
pure and undefiled.
The wild women bathe their Queen,
Fierce Artemis of the hunters' moon.
She prepares for wedding night,
'neath the canopy of virgin oak and sacral pine.
There is stillness now,
and the ladies work in silence -
knowing full well of He who watches
from behind the fern and laurel.
Golden Actaeon, a son of Thessaly,
answers the primail call,
rising from the twilit undergrowth
into the Unknown,
led from behind to His marriage bed.
Behold, a mystery!
Artemis hath chosen Her mate,
and - fueled by frenzy -
makes him King for the starry night.
The Muses shriek,
piercing - like an owl's lament -
and sleeping Actaeon flew,
wearing the horns of honor.
The Maidens set their hounds on him,
His life for the life of them all,
blood to feed the vines,
flesh to feed the soil,
bones and heart to feed the fire:
of love, of lust, of death.
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