June 13, 2015

helen

 irresistible,

 you see her walking,
 her hands full of poppies
 and silver-gilt barley

 you cannot help but follow
 the sway of her hips
 in flounced skirts,
 the sway of her breasts above,
 the gold and faience beads
 sliding over gleaming skin

 brows like a swallow’s wing
 reddened lips
 and scarlet suns painted
 on her cheeks and chin
 kohl-lined eyes
 deeper than the sacred pool 
 she has aphrodite’s love
 all men are fools for her,
 all women too

 the poets will get it wrong
 they will forget
 her power was of the earth and sky,
 not just of lovers’ sighs,
 yet that the two were linked

 in their songs
 they put too much eris and thanatos,
 a sullied eros only,
 a betrayal of charis,
 too many bright blades
 and cities burning

 in her world
 her beauty was not a tragic gift,
 but an emblem:
 the favor of the gods made clear,
 a kingdom’s talisman
 against all want and fear,
 the sun’s own child,
 her radiant face
 fortune’s magnet

 she is waving grain,
 figs and olives bending branches,
 rain on the fields,
 bounding lambs,
 dripping combs,
 grapes bursting in the wine vats,
 children laughing in the lanes,
 the glowing sun
 drawing goodness from the land

 when she stretches out her hand
 the earth hearkens
 let the girls dance for her by the river,
 let matrons offer mirrors in her temple,
 let men watch her walk 
 and ache

 she is the spark
 that lights all fire
 dispelling all dark

 irresistible






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