I've always loved art, and a cheap print of Botticelli's venus used to hang in one of our classrooms way back in High School. (Thank heavens I grew up in a world where no one ever suggested such pictures were inappropriate) It has always stood, in my mind, for some male ideal of the female loveliness, and otherness that captures, not just their sexuality, but their hearts:
Thinking about her one day, I wrote this poem, bearing with the myth long enough to wonder what would have happened if she had never landed somewhere so welcoming:
3. TO BOTTICELLI’S VENUS
What if another wind had sung your waves
To bear you to a far more alien shore,
And the soft foam had lashed to hurricane --
Would you bear the same beauty as before?
If the seas lapped to silk that kissed your limbs
And lifted you towards the waiting sand
Had scorned your spell in saline disbelief
And, cold, abducted to another land;
What if, upon some cruel volcanic lump
Pungent with seabirds, crowned with bitter grass
The careless waves had cast your flailing flesh
Far from men’s eyes in some blaspheming farce?
How would you fare? No, rather, how would we,
Robbed of that tenderness that makes men mad,
Lust’s formalwear of flowing poesy
Which veils the brain and leaves desire unclad?