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Ode to the Scythians - Johnny Thunderbird
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Ode to the Scythians - Johnny Thunderbird

Ode to the Scythians, memorial to our distinguished forebears, liturgical marijuana smokers and conquerors.

Ode to the Scythians

The Scythian Credo:
Marijuana is the Goddess
Marijuana is the Sacrament.
I. You were the first ever to ride the horse.
You invented the saddle and blanket
the harness and bridle
the girth and stirrup.
You left us the image of the centaur
from the superstitious impressions of your frightened enemies.
On your horse holding your bow
the Saggitarius symbol comes from you.
Your zone of the sky points to the center of the galaxy
accurate archer.

II. You were the first ever to smoke marijuana.
You laid hemp flowers on the coals in a bowl
in the middle of your tent
bent over it
covered all your heads with a blanket
and breathed.
Your spirit then joined the spirit of the Goddess.
That is how you communed with the Goddess
as She made known Her will
through subtle nudges to your imagination.
She turned your eyes to the splendor of ordinary objects.
That is how you conceived the innovation
of climbing on a big animal
and by subtle nudges of the knees
and turning his head aside
making him go where you wanted to travel.
As the Goddess showed you her way
so you showed the horse your way.

III. Your women warriors, named the Amazons
taught your enemies a lesson in fear.
Riding and shooting in troops of your own
you dealt the citizens the special chill
of the trembling man threatened by armed women.
The classical writers could not quite describe this terror.
It has shivered down through the ages to us.
Modern man cannot quite explain this fear.
The Goddess nudged the imagination of the Scythian women
turned your heads toward the weaponry
subtly raising to your eyes the questions
Can not a woman ride?
Can not a woman fight?
Can not a woman slay a man?
Is this not splendor?
Pungent hemp smoke wafted around the quiver of arrows.
The name Amazon became shouted in the fields
was whispered in the cities.
People learned an arrow slipping narrowly through the sky
has no testicles.

IV. The cruel Assyrian with his curled black beard
oiled and perfumed
heard about the Scythians
that your Goddess drifted over your heads in smoke
that your women fought in battle wearing delicate fabrics woven of hemp
that your skin would shine through
that your intricate filigrees of gold were worked with artistry beyond compare
the tyrant called out his imperial army.
Massively armored, heavily armed, drilled and diciplined
these troops had conquered all the countries around
devastating cities, capturing the populace
forcing the survivors to bring tribute and slaves to Nineveh.
Assyria was the greatest and harshest empire the world had known
Nineveh its proud and wealthy capital.
Women and men, you drifted on down through the fields
obedient to the silent urgings of the Goddess
which She revealed in the sacred odor of Her smoke.

V. A solid wall was the unvanquished army of Assyria.
Marching at you in a block, spears gleaming in ranks.
Far behind them stood the mighty walls of Nineveh.
The Goddess nudged your mind, and turned your face to look beyond, beyond.
You rode on towards the thousands meaning to slay you.
Your bows sang their soft pure notes.
The beauty of the clouds this day,
the shimmer of the enemy metal,
was it not splendor?
With the instant precision of dancers you galloped in
and twisted your horses right through the massed enemy ranks
like you were phantoms made of smoke.
Was it done well?
Right past the imperial army you rode, through them or over them.
Right into Nineveh you rode,
and tore down that town.

VI. The days pass, and pass, but the Goddess can handle time.
There were many days of peace, but few of war.
Scythians died, women and men,
and were buried, in log coffins, in log houses made in the ground,
surrounded by a circle of stones.
Gold art work was buried with them, unexcelled for detail,
and wood, cloth and leather art,
and horses, marijuana, and weapons.
Some of the graves froze when the weather cooled,
and some of them are still frozen.
Kings and slaves lived and died,
empires rose slowly and fell swiftly,
and many peoples moved, but you Scythians stayed.
You were stable because your religion was true,
true because you could contact your Goddess any time,
by smelling the sacred odor of her suffumigation,
the holy plant would tell you of her will.
Twenty generations after you took Nineveh,
you went to war beside Alexander and conquered Persia.
Persia was an ancient empire, which in its dim dawning
had swallowed the ancient empire of Babylon
but you knew a little about ancient empires.
You fought your old way, on your horses,
with your bows,
women and men,
misted in smoke.
Empires rise in centuries, fall in a day.
You rode the land before any of them.
Millenia come and go, like human lives, king and slaves, like smoke.

VII. Like smoke you drifted from sight as our era began.
When the tyrants dictate not only what one should do
but what one should believe
people will hide their old ways.
The endless plains grew dry and cold.
Amid the turbulence of peoples in Roman times
the Scythians eased quietly into the forests.
The Goddess floats lightly over the jumble of history.
The ways of the Scythians can be seen to shine
like beaten gold in the rubble
from time to time
and place to place.
Horses are still ridden.
The sacred plant still grows.
Women still fight.
The Goddess can be known any time in the smell of Her smoke.


Peace be with You