Perhaps Aphrodite


Perhaps Aphrodite
Cult statue of a goddess, perhaps Aphrodite (425–400 BC),
in the Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Does a breeze ripple the limestone folds?
One foot forward (some toes missing),

she advances — hard to resist. The marble
arm outstretched in mute fluorescence,

must have held something once. A gold
apple? Her face gives little away except

there is a definite invitation to worship,
which we do in our own way, circling,

recircling the plinth, hearing in this hall
built with unholy oil, whispers of war.

Choosing a Life
Pretend I was born in Arezzo,
know its streets like the back of my hand,
speak like a native. Visiting Roma, I only
have to open my mouth and they'll say:
Aha! A Tuscan!

Now picture me back in the Piazza Grande
drinking coffee, a hundred pigeons
scrabbling at my feet. They're hoping
a few crumbs will fall onto the pavement's
red and white geometry.

Another thought: in the square there's a stall
with a sign GELATO perched on its roof.
Can you see me, white-aproned, white-capped,
scooping out smooth limone, ananas, fragola,
— 2 euros a cone, 3 euros for tourists?

Or else, think of me in the Duomo,
escaping the August heat. After a nap
I say a short prayer to Sant'Egidio,
a one-time local, my pious mother claims
can fix most things.

Or, (how's this!) I'm a Professor of Fine Arts,
reading my acclaimed monograph on
Piero della Francesca. I'm at the Casa Vasari
and the visiting audience, Friends of the Museum
of Art (Philadelphia), are deeply impressed.

Choose any of these, as I stroll off into the dusk,
past blue, Etruscan-tall shadows.

William RushWilliam Rush is a Melbourne writer whose poems have been published in Australia and overseas.


Topic tags: william rush, new Australian poems, Perhaps Aphrodite, Choosing a Life



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Existing comments

Thankyou for the poems - I am a poetry fanatic - I have many books but not seen William Rush before, but I will look now.

I always read poetry aloud, some people think I am mad, but it gives me the rythm the cadence and deeper meaning.
maeraid | 14 April 2009

Loved both poems, Bill. Particularly the Aphrodite one, very lyrical and the other is vivid. Thank you.
Jean Sietzema-Dickson | 14 April 2009


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