Head of Aphrodite

Head of Aphrodite
Cyprus, 510 B.C.
by Theodora Goss

All the beautiful figures
rising from the waves, long toes
gripping foam, arms raised
to accept garlands of flowers,
covered by their own golden hair
or borrowed drapery, diaphanous as mist
over rosy flesh, all these
Aphrodites, Renaissance to pre-Raphaelite,
resolve themselves into her:
the ancient head, weighty limestone,
with an enigmatic almost-Etruscan smile,
reminding you that love is the oldest
of the gods, capable
of making you immortal
or driving you mad
with grief.

(The image is Head of Aphrodite, from the Worcester Art Museum. Photo by Theodora Goss.)

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