In Neos Alexandria this month, the three Gods of the Month were Goddesses of the Month: Hathor, Nemesis, and the Muses. The first and the last of these got a mention in my poem from a few days ago; but I did not end up working anything in for Nemesis…and, I really should have done so, because both Herodes Attikos and Polydeukion honored her, as an inscription at Rhamnous indicates.
So, in the spirit of “better late than never,” here’s a poem for Nemesis.
The words on public monuments
are for the eyes of mortals and gods,
but do not tell the full story.
Nemesis, seer of the deeds of mankind:
hear these words as I speak them,
for they are written upon my heart.
I have honored you, the goddess
whose wrath every sensible man dreads
and whose name brings fear to rest in the soul;
I have also honored your sister Tyche.
And yet, I seem to have your ire
and no favor from her.
My wife and children, but one, are dead;
my foster-sons are dead.
Though my public works survive,
including my shrine here at Rhamnous for you,
my name is cursed and I am called “tyrant.”
I am more comforted by the eyes
of Polydeukion’s statue here,
where we used to sacrifice to you together,
than I am from any gifts you bestow.
His name is that of your son;
why treat a son as true as he
so poorly despite his virtue?
I speak these words with breath, not stone,
because I know they, nor I, will endure.
How ignorant of justice are teh fates of men,
how vain of divine favor are our trials on the earth.