Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Prayer of Paris to Aphrodite

Because this love business can be more than what I saw at Sobey's last night. This installment of Thirsty brought to you from Norm Sibum's Smoke and Lilacs (Carcanet, 2009). More throughout the day.

The Prayer of Paris to Aphrodite

Come, you with left knee bent, spare me this action.
Outraged husband - a Greek - charges at me:
Menelaus' spear is held high and ready.
And I'm chilled with fright
And have none of my wits.
Come you who come out of the sea,
Your smile burned on my breast, your savage smile is constant
In the roughed up places where love knows no quiet.
- What bliss by the hearths? What wisdom in affairs?
So much for every goddess but you.

Yes, come. I have my reasons, wild, irrepressible intent my excuse.
It's as clear to me as the cold light of stars on the coldest nights.
This shield is useless for my shame, my courage the courage of tender parts.

Hide me. Wrap me in a delivering cloud. In a wind of blinding dust,
Remove Paris from the field. Let men howl, lunge, eviscerate,
Leave one another for carrion. Just as we are in love, so we are in hate's arena:
Lost, quarrelsome, passionate, dead. Come, loveliest illusion, come you with left knee bent
Even as Hector heaps blame on the children of my children
And despises me for the woman you helped me to steal,

Commend your faithful to you, raise me with a squall,
Set me on Helen's bed. Watch over us. So that, from start o star, she and I
May step and leave no trace of our tortured passing,
For love combusts brighter than this Troy about to burn.

The Attic red figure vase, shown above, is thought to be by the Painter of Louvre (410-400 B.C.E.), and depicts the presentation of Aeneas to Paris by Aphrodite. Aeneas was to act as Paris's squire in the pinching of a certain you-know-who.

1 comment:

Alex said...

What's wrong with Sobey's? Don't you like those cookies with all the pink icing and sparkles on them? They're better than love.