Richibi’s Weblog

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Tag: the Horae

the judgment of richibi


        “The Judgment Of Paris (1625) 

                         Peter Paul Rubens


at the end of a long overdue visit to 
friend’s home the other night, she 
asked me, did you notice their facial
skin, which of us do you think had 
the best complexion, you can be 
honest, she insisted

we had intended to watch the finals
of a voice competition we’d both 
been following, over a glass of 
wine, or two, each, when a friend 
called, from, essentially, the door,
with a second friend in tow on their
way to a concert in the city

the friend of the friend, a lovely,
effervescent woman, from Poland
originally, with a story to tell of
growing up behind the Iron 
Curtain, was also a beautician in 
spa she runs in a nearby resort

the first friend, equally effervescent, 
had been telling my own friend of the 
intervening events since last they’d  
met, while I lapped up, more or less  
by default, this other alternate Soviet 
reality, perfumed as it was irresistibly 
throughout with the friend’s  
friend’s mellifluous Polish accent

I hadn’t paid any attention whatsoever
to skin quality apart from accepting  
a spa courtesy card for my mother, who 
would, naturally, be interested 

my dearest dear, I answered, I am  
not going anywhere near that one
look what happened to Paris when
he fell into that trap

what happened, she asked

the Trojan War, I answered  

the Trojan War, she asked

Paris was the son of Priam and Hecuba
king and queen of Troy, explained, he, 
one of its princes, he’d been awarded 
Helenwife of Menelausking of Sparta, 
by Aphroditegoddess of lovehe’d 
chosen Aphrodite to be the most 
beautiful among the goddesses, that 
was her prize

but let me step back a little, I  
interrupted, you need more context

Eris, goddess of discord, had not been 
invited to the marriage of Peleus and 
Thetis, I recounted, he a Greek hero, 
she a sea nymph, parents both later to 
Achilleshero at Troy, slain, incidentally, 
by that very Paris, you can read all about 
it in the Iliad“, I highly recommended

during the festivities, Eris tosses a 
golden apple among the assembled 
divinities, which reads

            “to the fairest” 
you can hear the stirrings of the much 
later Sleeping Beautyincidentally, in 
this earliest of tellings, reconfigured 
from the original myth

AthenaAphrodite and Hera, all assume
they are meant to receive the apple, and 
ask Zeus, father and husband, to decide

you’ll have to get someone else to touch 
that one, he replies, much as I did

and delegates the task, with the help 
of Hermes, the messenger god, to the
the guileless Paris, son of Priam and 
Hecuba, Trojan king and queen, as I 
said, he, Parisprince

Paris was tending sheep on Mount Ida
when, fatefully, by a spring, the nubile 
goddesses appeared vaunting their 
unadorned splendours, stark, flagrant, 
manifest, to the musical accompaniment 
of the Graces, Faith, Hope and Charity, 
also the Horae, the Hoursgoddesses 
of the seasons, maidens all in complicit  

Paris, mere mortal, would never have 
stood a chance 

but to sweeten, nevertheless, the 
deal, were it not yet sufficiently sweet, 
Hera promises Paris Europe and Asia 
should he choose her, Athena
conquest in war, Aphroditegoddess 
of love, was set to give him the most
beautiful woman in the world

Paris opts for Aphrodite, and is 
awarded Helenthe face that
launched the thousand proverbial 
ships, the wife, not incidentally,  
and completely inconveniently, of 
the King of Sparta, Menelauswho 
attacks thereupon Troy with his 
brother, Agamemnon, and their 
allied legions, to reclaim 
Menelaus’, whether abducted, or 
indeed unfaithful, wife, no one 
has ever conclusively determined
Paris having been Paris

no one won 

no one survived but Odysseus
but that’s another story

I walked home shortly afterwards, 
crossed my own Aegean, ten or
eleven blocks back, red lights, 
nighttime traffic, watched the voice 
competition I’d taped in any case at 
homewhooped it up along with my
favourite contestants, drank to my
narrow miss, had gotten away, I
considered, with the equivalent of 
Europe and Asia, if only in my 

beauty might be in the eye of the 
beholder, I surmised, but it can 
have its thorny indeed 


The Birth of Venus

  Botticelli Venus.jpg

                        “The Birth of Venus“, c.1482-6
                                    Sandro Botticelli 
                                       (1445 -1510)

this is me at New Year’s Eve, instead of a party after a day of some incidental work, not much but enough to hobble my spirit, I thought a hot bath would be good, maybe even an alternative, at midnight itself, I carried on, it sounded irresistible

I’d light a candle of course, play soft music, Lizst was already on, his “Années de Pèlerinage” – a meditation for piano on his Swiss, Italian pilgrimage – would go on tinkling away peripatetically prestidigitating still for hours, I wouldn’t have to even change a thing

I’d be reborn of course, that was the rationale for not going out, never mind the cold, the snow, for me the late hour, who’d pass after all even for a New Year’s party, I mused, on an outright reincarnation   

later I’d make my excuses

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          meanwhile after a long, hot, indeed gestative soak, in the very womb of earth, in allegorical, I imagined, primal waters, wherein I’d redefine my inner being, redirect of course my errant soul, I could only rise transformed resplendent, I instinctively foresaw, as Venus, specifically Botticelli’s

I arose

a mane of golden hair, neck and profile by already Modigliani, fluted fingers a modest flutter above pert breasts, the others in their clutch a strand of protective locks to shield my innocent, inviolate pudenda

Venus, I thought, goddess of love

to be reflected not only for the moment in my mirror but like a resolution in my heart for the entire year, years in fact, to come

took a picture, hope you like it

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             and all the very best                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Richard

psst: only later did I realize there were zephyrs there, they’re there of course, I should’ve known, always

and one of also the Horae – Nymphe, I think, goddess of the morning hour of washing, ablutions – handing me a vernal cloak, a tribute to my season, of course, of spring