Root of all evil

For the dverse prompt. Late because we had a power outage yesterday evening. The Judgement of Paris probably says it all.

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They stand in the shadows, Deirdre and Étain,

Andromeda and Persephone,

Eurydice, Penelope, Helen,

all the women who took the blame

for their beauty, the greed and lust of men,

for not being their father’s sons.

They stand in the shadows and watch

as we stalk the catwalks or cringe behind veils,

as we walk always two paces behind

but with a simpering smile of complicity.

They stand, they watch, and they judge.

So long, their stony eyes say in silent reproach,

and still we mince and pout and take the rap,

the punch in the face, the unwanted touching,

or we wrap our shame in black

scuttle like beetles to deflect desire.

When, they ask, will we turn to the adventurer

returned from his wars and his conquests of female flesh

and say, what kept you?

Slap Paris in the face and tell him,

I am not a prize to be won;

I too will fly on a winged horse to sun and moon

to pluck golden and silver apples,

spit the pips in the eyes of all your gods.

My prize is not a bedslave,

but the liberation of the world.

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