The Search

By | 1 December 2009

Here they come! Hordes from
every part of this new world
erupt through the doors, then
pause, all eyes on me. Yet
I nearly didn't make it.

The curator wanted an image
of womanhood which would

be timeless. He was very
drawn to you, Ishtar –
after all, your smile melted men.

And you were that paradox,
virgin and whore which
couldn't fail to please.

He felt your look in battle
astride that lioness
would appeal to feminists

and they'd approve you
needed no male consort,
reigning independent.
I'm pretty impressed too.

But your healing powers
over Pharaoh inspired unease

in a curator who wanted no
connection with disease.

He turned to you, Sophia
Goddess of wisdom

though he was puzzled which
image of you to promote.

The creation one of tree and
flower of life was majestic

but would visitors to the Louvre
understand its symbolism?

A beautiful painting of you
with your three daughters

Faith, Hope and Love grouped
obedient in front, looks

very like the Madonna and
Christians might feel confused

that the child has multiplied.
I was relieved when the curator,
threatened by all this fecundity
looked further afield once more.

He fell in love with my shape
which is considered perfection.

My twisting torso tantalised him
with its sensuality, yet there's

nothing gross about my form.
My raised left leg swathed in

folds of marble hints at movement
marvellous in sculpture.

In earlier days I loved being gaudy,
a painted pagan aglow but

time has brushed me with
a noble pallor fit for a church.

So my sisters Ishtar and Sophia
in the end beauty has won.
Too bad these crowds only
remember me and my name.

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