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Today's poem is by Jim Barnes

The Judgment of Paris (Whereabouts Unknown)

          When you look at Cezanne's apples, you see that he hasn't
             really painted apples as such.

                                                             —Picasso

             With an apple I will astonish Paris.
                                                             —Cezanne

Remember Paris, who herded Priam's flocks,
minding the woolies around Mount Ida's rocks,

Paris, that lonely, lovely, horny son,
exploring wrinkles of Troy's Grand Teton?

His innocence was mostly hidden by
his robe, which bore a rather threadbare fly.

He liked to claim a divine origin
(Cezanne instead gave him a sheepish grin),

longed for Love, and surely would have tried her
among the frollicking ewes on Mount Ida.

When the choice was his, he made it wham! like that—
one was a bit too brainy, the other fat—

selected the juciest apple, to his eye,
and sent mad Hera storming up on high

and Athena sulking judiciously off
to cure some wanderer of hiccups or the cough.

Aphrodite! O ye gods what a catch!
Shazam! he threw away his robe to match

the goddess' lust in love and to lay claim
to the bobbing apples before his shivering frame.

But, oh alas, soon did he learn the prize
was Menelaos' wife. Down fell the rise

he soared on, gone the oats he could've sown.
Poor boy, young as he was, he should've known

you can never trust (with apple) a prude
in the godly state of dishabillitude.



Copyright © 2002 Jim Barnes All rights reserved
from Quarterly West
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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