Paris fumbles.
The blonde shiny teacups
of Helen lie open
as amphitheaters,
on islands of lilies sailing,
on the yellowness of
China oxen plowing,
on the Renaissance masters
and the medieval masters
revolving under the
endless needle of creation.

In the presence of
those deadly paps,
serene as dying suns,
angels pose aghast
in church windows,
archaic, baleful
in baby clothes.

Stroke by stroke,
Troy rises again,
the folk
painted by the plains,
frightened women
by walls and gates,
by sacred faces of stone;
soldiers and statesmen
in dust and smoke
allow the brush to follow,
allow a cheek made
burnt umber, a greave
vermilion and green.

In scholar’s dreams,
in reams of paper,
singing Troy
transcending eye and spirit,
rises like Atlantis;
her garrisons
summoned by the sunlight,
glisten in brassy array.

Paris fumbles.
A queen forgets her place
floating over the sea
with the clouds.

Better your talented painter,
suffers your generous
patron, shepherd of all arts,
all weighty matters,
to come to rest
on the choice of a palette,
on one sure color.

A choice is made;
red as blood
she comes, light as dust
out of the ruinous flames,
rising off Giotto’s canvas
like a bird of prey,

fatal woman,
into the sunlight.

On a fluted shell,
on the hills of Israel,
cruel Astarte,
standing like a lady;
on the hills of Ida,
Venus, you sly fox,
you produced
tomorrow’s promise today.

But now Helen submits
and Paris smiles tenderly;
Paris, with the face
of a tired Apollo.

Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, Mind In Motion, Slow Dancer, The Antioch Review, The Comstock Review, The University of Texas Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal and a number of other on-line and in print poetry magazines over the years. The author has been writing poetry since he was sixteen and lives in a small town near Albany, N.Y. He was born and worked in upstate New York. He is retired from doing whatever he was doing before he retired.