[Rotting Silver] “Wine for Dionysos” by B. T. Newberg

As icelets beat my ears

and prick my cheeks,

The candle fire of Hestia

bobs within a glass cup,

laying its yellow hands on the offering

of wine for Dionysos:

three dark bottles in the snow.


With a palm-full of barley,

and raising toward the snowy altar-mound,

my hands begin a prayer,

my lips follow;

I speak to that warm god

that pulses in fingers and branches,

and the barley falls like snow over the offering.


The wine bottles open

with a low pop,

and a cup raises in my hands

before the altar-mound;

that sweet, heady aroma,

resonates with layered traces

of offerings gone before.


Here is where my god is,

in the dark, full-bodied scent,

heavy with being,

a lord of hands and feet,

clustered with shivers and hot breaths,

dripping with memory,

a warm glow in the belly.


Image Credit: B. T. Newberg

Rotting Silver is a column devoted to this Earth in all its tarnished radiance: poetry, prose, and parables of ugliness alloyed with joy.

This piece was first published at The Witch’s Voice.

The Author

B. T. Newberg

B. T. Newberg:  Since the year 2000, B. T. has been practicing meditation and ritual from a naturalistic perspective. He currently volunteers as Education Director for the Spiritual Naturalist Society, where he created and now teaches an online course in naturalistic spirituality (including Naturalistic Paganism!). His writings can also be found at Patheos and Pagan Square, as well as right here at HP.

Professionally, he teaches English as a Second Language, and hopes to begin a PhD program in the psychology of religion soon.  After living in Minnesota, England, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea, he currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and cat.

After founding HumanisticPaganism.com in 2011 and serving as managing editor till 2013, he now serves as advising editor, and feels blessed to be a part of this community.

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