The Judgement Of Paris

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The Judgement Of Paris

Postby Saturn » Sun May 14, 2006 1:44 pm

I've been reading Lucian's satirical dialogues and there's a humourous take on The Judgement of Paris in there, but this little poem is a more sober look at the myth. I also can see such a choice between three types of love from three different women in my own life at different times I can relate to.

The metre is variable, but the verse is blank with a few incidental ryhmes - pretty straightforward narrative structure though - I like story-telling, even if the story has been told a hundred-thousand times before.

I'm just making this up as I go along so be patient :roll:

The Judgement of Paris

Minding his own business,
Tending a livelyhood,
The boy trod the path;
That mountain track
He knew too well
From years of toil.

Nothing expected,
Least of all a pageant,
A contest divine
For the fate of Troy -
The distant city.

Seasons did change
And weather beat
His princely back
365 days a year-
Not that he ken'd
His blood was blue.

How could a shepherd
Guess of his high birth?
How in his dreams
Know that old Priam
Was his unknown sire?

Sure his beauty excelled
The other hill-lads;
Sure his strength made
Heracles seem reborn;
Sure his wit made
Odysseus tremble
But these never betoken
For certain royal blood.

So, in a wildnerness
A desert of uncertainty,
He ploughed his trade
On lonely mountainsides
Heedless of noble birth,
Careless of the gods,
Their comings, goings
And ignorant too
Of womankind.

What shock then it was
On a sudden summer day
To see all at once a troop
Of gods and goddesses
All on his humble patch.

Hermes, wand carrier,
Great escort of Zeus
Led the way with ease,
Guiding the lovely forms
As Paris stood amazed.
How can poet, scribe
Or historain recount
The sight that boy saw?
Easier to describe
The surface of the sea,
The face of the sun,
Or distant Hesperides'
Groves of golden trees.

Three goddessess stood
Before the tongue-tied,
Simple shepherd boy -
His face, averted and red
To Hermes turned he in fear

"Who and what are these
Beauties come to earth?
Surely they are goddessess
Come down from on high.
Ne'er before did I know
That such things exist
And appear 'fore the living"

To him Hermes replied:
"Fear not these Paris,
They mean no harm
To thee and thine.
Rather they come
To beg a boon of thee".

Paris to Hermes:
"What can such mighty
Unapproachable ones
Ever have need of
From a lowly boy
Such as I am?
My bed is the turf,
My friends my flock,
My wealth is wool
And my home is
The hills you see
Where I work."

Hermes laughed:
"They come not to take,
But to question thee
To decide a dispute
For a precious fruit-
An apple all of gold,
Here take it from me".

Hermes placed the apple
In Paris' rugged palm.
He felt the weight
And saw the bright glow
Of that golden prize.

Then straight looked he
At the godessess three.
Womankind was strange
And unfamiliar to his sense
But these three seemed
To enshrine all that was
Beautiful, strong and true
About the female form divine.

For naked they displayed
All their perfect charms
To his dumbstruck sight -
Not in obscene a pose,
Natural a godess' repose
At ease with, and aware
Of their beauty's power.

They betook them then
To a free flowing spring
On nearby Ida's mount
To bathe their immortal,
And always supple skin.

First to speak was the
Sister, and jealous wife
Of high Olympus' Lord:
Great Hera sole mistress
And mother of the gods.

"Since that I hold tight,
In love and consort with
That mighty monarch,
Who all knows and all
Can give to mortals
And immortal gods too
I would to thee Paris
Make thee a Tyrant,
A might ruler, famed
Across all the world
You know of as yet:

From Heracles stones
To Bosphorus shore,
From Galatian fields
To Scythian steppes
Thy name shall be
Trumped wide 'cross
Every land that men
Do live, work and
Worship the gods.
As a man of fate,
Of wisdom and wealth
I will fit thee well
With all that speaks
To men of success.

Riches shall be thine,
More gold than Midas
Even dared dream.
Influence - sway o'er
The hearts of men
Can easily be bought:
Good opinions, respect
Come at a price , but
One thou mayst afford.

One small boon I ask,
A word and all this,
All you can ever want
Will be thine instantly.
That golden fruit
Give in token to me


.....tbc
Last edited by Saturn on Fri Jun 23, 2006 11:36 pm, edited 4 times in total.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby dks » Sun May 14, 2006 9:02 pm

Excellent, Saturn. I particularly love this one:

Seasons did change
And weather beat
His princely back
365 days a year-
Not that he ken'd
His blood was blue.

I love the furtive alliteration in there...you have a sure grasp on word music...I really do like your style--it's unique in its erudition and mixture of poetic antiquity and modern syntactical brevity--in short, Bravo, good man. :wink:
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
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Postby Saturn » Sun May 14, 2006 11:14 pm

Thanks dks - I read a lot of modernist translations of ancient works.

If you ever develop an interest in the ancient poets I'd recomend a great American Poet-Translator called Robert Fagles who has translated Homer's epics and the plays of Sophocles and Aeschylus very effectively and poetically in terse, modern poetry.

You'll see where I steal all my ideas from :wink:
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby dks » Mon May 15, 2006 5:15 am

Saturn wrote:Thanks dks - I read a lot of modernist translations of ancient works.

If you ever develop an interest in the ancient poets I'd recomend a great American Poet-Translator called Robert Fagles who has translated Homer's epics and the plays of Sophocles and Aeschylus very effectively and poetically in terse, modern poetry.

You'll see where I steal all my ideas from :wink:


I seriously doubt you steal anything. Thanks for the rec. :wink:
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
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Postby Saturn » Mon May 15, 2006 9:19 am

dks wrote:
I seriously doubt you steal anything. Thanks for the rec. :wink:


Well, not steal, 'heavily influenced by' is more appropriate :wink:
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby dks » Mon May 15, 2006 2:44 pm

Ahh, ok.

I find myself heavily influenced by Keats, of course, and also the imagists like William Carlos Williams and Langston Hughes. :wink:
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
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Postby Saturn » Wed May 17, 2006 11:34 pm

Damn it - I forgot to finish this...

Is it worth carrying on with people?
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby dks » Thu May 18, 2006 1:28 am

Saturn wrote:Damn it - I forgot to finish this...

Is it worth carrying on with people?


Of course and absolutely!!
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
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Postby Saturn » Fri May 19, 2006 12:35 am

I'll try my best :?
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Re: The Judgement Of Paris

Postby soumya » Fri May 19, 2006 1:08 pm

Saturn wrote:
The Judgement of Paris

Minding his own business,
Tending a livelyhood,
..............................
..................
At ease with and aware
Of their beauty's power.

I'll maybe finish this later...

Agggghhhhhh - writer's block - tomorrow, and tomorrow.... :roll:



He follows me

He walks behind me, from a polite distance,
keeping his eye on me. I try to hide in a crowd;
He pretends his mind is elsewhere, or, at best,
He looks as if he is fooled and separates himself.

Still he follows. I move quickly, silently,
Behind a crumbling wall, its moss rubs off on my face
When suddenly I find him holding on to the other side,
Standing, keeping up an appearance of studied regard.

His eyes, expressionless, he keeps fixed on me
yet, in fact, he may be looking upwards
seeing a bird, the clouds' movements, or the old tiles
of a primary school. When it begins to rain,
Unconstrained, he moves under my umbrella, like a snail
Drawn into its spiral shell. Nearing,

He was calm and quiet; I looked at his face
Drops of tears rolling down from his eyes
I was about to react, ask,
Don't hide your cries with your smile
Was all he said and gone…came back inside me.
Soumya Bhattacharya
India
www.freewebs.com/bhattacharya
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Postby Saturn » Fri Jun 23, 2006 11:38 pm

Updated this poem a bit - really have neglected this one.

I'll finish it one day :lol:
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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