Kudos to the winners of our Fall, 2012, Odes to Olympians contest, honoring the goddess Aphrodite (Venus)! Ryan Crouch won the contest for adults with his poem, Of Cyprus, while Lisa Burgoa won the under-18 competition with her poem, Vulcan Plucking Petals.
Honorable mentions in the adult category are: Pattie Flint, Liz Hufford, Jen Wang, Neroli Cottam, Dawn McGuire, Angela Fabunan and Jean Chapman Snow. Honorable mentions for the under-18 category are: Aysha Rehman, Vivek Shah, Emily Allbright, Sean Watkins, Caitlin Rose, Helen Chen, and Michael Forlenza.
Scroll down to read these fine poems celebrating the goddess of love.
If you like prose: Why not buy and read our books? Or give them to friends and loved ones for Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa or even Saturnalia? Jocasta tells the story of Oedipus but from the point of view of his mother-wife (and has been chosen by some high schools as a companion read to Sophocles – but don’t let that put you off!). The Niobe trilogy, Children of Tantalus, The Road to Thebes and Arrows of Artemis mixes myth and archaeology to give the story of an ancient mass murder – and is a great read for those who have finished Percy Jackson and want more challenging time with the Greek myths.
The books are available both electronically and in paper …AND YOUR PURCHASE HELPS SUPPORT THESE CONTESTS.
The Tapestry of Bronze is a series of novels set in Bronze Age Greece.
There’s no need to read our books to enter the contests, but if you like mythology, or historical fiction, or simply reading exciting stories, we think you’ll enjoy them!
You may be interested in visiting other parts of our website:
Our Books (in English)
First Prize Winner – Adult Category
She was not always
Of caught breaths and men’s strained eyes
And whistles in the distant wind.
Of "be my lady, be my dear"
Because Cyprus is humble.
Its shores crafted the shell of her back.
The sea foam fused into her dripping hair.
She was simple (in her own eyes).
She was just humming peacefully (to herself)
When gazes encircled and entrapped her.
They knew only of lustful starvation.
But Hephaestus would
Trapped inside desire and regret.
His fire only evaporated her being.
She became tempting steam in the spray,
Nothing to herself but alluring to
Every heavy pulse, crafting every exhalation into
"I love you" even if
She questioned whether
First Prize Winner – Under 18 Category
Vulcan Plucking Petals
She loves me-
since she rose,
encumbered by ebbing ocean lace,
swelling the seas
(and swelling heads and hearts ever since).
Invoking in me,
her stooped, crooked boy,
delicate as a house of cards,
the abashed blushes
of a rosy-fingered dawn,
the lecherous yearnings
of a writhing flame.
But she departs
quick as a quiver
on Eros' bow,
stirring hunger of a crouched animal
in some poor, sorry sap before
soaking their bones in a lover's brine.
And for all her philandering,
she recoils from my touch
lest I leave a sooty-fingered print
on her heart
as I tinker, tinker
the key to her padlock.
But it's too late.
The candle's snuffed.
She loves me not.
Honorable Mentions Adult Category
no matter what they've heard
Castration's in her blood.
We mold ourselves after her,
One who rose from the sea
Irresistible to men and gods.
She brings swans
Out of ugly ducklings,
And we, in turn,
With faces that could
Unleash an armada
Arouse war out of love.
(It’s not our fault:
She does enjoy his company.)
Some say our glamour
And multiple consorts
Hide our insecurity,
But we’re proud
Like our goddess
Of our ability to love
(And lust) freely
And our golden proportions
That we work hard to maintain
In a quest for immortality.
You may think it’s all for naught,
But it is her form,
Not one of the Nine,
That inspires artists.
I glory in the perfect form,
flawless, curving, youthful tones.
And yet there is beauty in the aged too,
blurred, of harder song and swell,
that reminds me of my birthing home,
of ancient tides and salt, seethed foam.
I delight in trees of leafy green
gowned through spring and summer long,
and yet the trunk that bears the crown
is old and gnarled, half underground.
It harks in me of light and dark,
for of them both, I am a part.
First love, first fruits, nurture and desire,
inspire my gifts, my ardent creeds.
Yet the reasons for deflowering are the seeds.
Life, death, rebirth, unalterable these.
Think of the rose, its faultless bloom,
yet underneath it bides the thorn.
Of such contrasts I belong.
Through wrathful blasts of war
and gentle, pipes of peace,
I court my wares and song.
Exquisite pleasures all I own, requisite portions
for my bed, my food endures, ensnares,
ensures, lithesome lovers, richly fed.
I will champion star-crossed lovers,
sometimes set them impossible endeavours.
I dwell in palaces of virtue and palaces of pleasure,
but the lovely forms of my many daughters
Are the jewels that I treasure.
“Love in the Skilled Nursing Unit”
Whacked with a bat in Dolores Park
for his wallet, Ari can't make
All day he lives in Then,
except when his wife of three decades
stands in the doorway.
In her dun-colored mu-mu andThrift-Co
shoes with room for her hammertoes,
she is Aphrodite.
He whoops and sighs when he sees her,
pours sweat, then freezes in the geri-chair.
His astonished face
is pale as dune grass. Then
suddenly he’s mute, his tongue
broken by beauty.
That's when I'd give my temporal lobe,
my hippocampus whole,
for his cheap blue gown;
to be in Her presence once again,
by whom we are made, inflamed,
to belong to the Goddess, once more
to be raised to aerial ash
again and again.
“Side A, Side B”
Twenty euros to see me. Good money, for being only half-naked,
and mangled. From my nonexistent arms, an absence powerful
enough to draw crowds. I was a living pearl, but never mind
old, perfect beauty. Two stumps and everyone surrounds,
as when cars stop to see the wreckage in grotesque
admiration. One man on his knees, in prayer.
Another kisses my toes—I am a god, after all.
Art students transfigure my body into lines. I am
theirs as much as I am mine. To them,
I am the non-existent past.
Jean Chapman Snow
Honorable Mentions – Under 18 Category
“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned,
Nor hell a fury like a goddess scorned”
Are you the goddess of love?
If it is you, then you must also reign over that place where lost souls wander—
The domain of loss and heartbreak.
Shedding a tear for Echo as she laments what can never be,
But you still do nothing as Narcissus wastes away by the pond.
Do you do it for want of cruelty? Perhaps.
To love is to subject one to a special kind of agony—
The breathlessness, the falter of the heartbeat, the gentle tremble of the hand.
What a dreadfully powerful curse, to be transfixed by the heady scent of love.
You wield it as a weapon—and a marvelous weapon it is, indeed.
Incomparable to the wise woman’s spear or the lady archer’s bow.
As soon as you whisper into the ear of the naïve young man who holds the apple, war is inevitable.
Blood is smeared across the halls of Troy, and it because of you.
You are, after all, the mistress of War itself.
Hades may claim the souls of the dead, but as the soldier lays dying upon the sand,
It is his sweet love who awaits him at home whom he calls for,
And, with his last breath, it is her soul that you claim to wander upon the shores of heartbreak.
All is fair in love and war, they say.
Do they not see the woman grieving over her beloved?
Do they not see the father mourning his son?
War may have caused it, but it is the merciless sting of love that wounds the heart.
The pain of love lost is revealed as poison coursing through the veins of the ever-mourning,
Suddenly they catch themselves wishing,
Wishing that their love had never existed, so that they would be spared this pain.
This is your harshest blow, your most spiteful joke, to finally reveal to man that it was alwaysa poison,
Always constricting, holding, in willful submission.
A source of counterfeit joy that inevitably leads to loss.
You should have quietly bowed out, but the knife had to be twisted within the wound,
You had to lift the veil and have man recognize the nature of his once happy folly.
You are the cruelest goddess of all.
in thy lusty whims
Ode to Aphrodite
The sun glowed white
Like the foam of the sea
Reflecting off the opaque blue water
A swan settled on the water
Its crystal eye looked as if
It were crafted by Hephaestus
Its ivory feathers,
Ruffled by the rolling wind,
Glowed in the bright light
Natures bribe to Paris,
Its loving embrace,
The warm radiance of the swan
Against the obscure water
In all her beauty,
Spread her wings
“She Is Love”
love is kind
she with the angel's face
glitter trailing in her wake
the dove sings as she walks by
gentle Aphrodite, for love she sighs
born from the ocean's foam
gifted to the lord of the forge
the not-so-secret trysts with war
with the ecstasy of love she soars
love is cruel
her winged son flies with fateful arrows
both gods and mortals taste love's terrors
to the goddess's whims are we subjected
to bask in perfection or suffer in rejection
she was fairest to Paris, a promise was made
thus Helen was torn from her husband
Cupid and Psyche flew on love's wings
but sweet Aphrodite got her revenge
love is kind
love is cruel
so is she
“The Miracle of Birth”
She spit out the sea foam and salty froth,
Carelessly wiping her red lips with the back of her
Pale, soft hand,
And hauled herself out of the ocean,
Her muscles groaning.
“They will romanticize this…”
She thought to herself.
Flopping down onto the shore,
Her limbs squelching,
Oiled by oceanic backwash.
She picked up a scallop shell,
Breathing hard and blinking salt from her
Wide, clear eyes,
And crushed it between her
Long, lithe fingers.
She rose, her body trembling.
And all across the Earth,
A terrible force was unleashed
“The guilt of Aphrodite”
You appear, ethereal, your shimmering robe flowing behind you
Descending from the golden dawn
Eyeing the remains of our city
Once magnificent, now enveloped in a flame
A look of remorse unfolding across your flawless face
The burning city of Troy below you
The Glorious Olympus above
Tears fall free
Memories rush back
Of war, of love, of grief
The widows of Troy
Do they not cry out to you tonight?
Pining away, their husbands’memories still fresh
Wounds that cut deep into their hearts
Do you not feel regret?
Do you not feel any pain?
The humans are playthings, so unimportant
You are untouchable, but touched by sorrow and loss
“Forgive me” you whisper softly
Your voice a distant bell
But it is too late, the past cannot be changed
Who knew that as the Goddess of love
You killed love, too
Daughter of Sky, who stands elegant,
Borne of Sea, who foams persistent,
Zephyr in the sky
And Tide in the sea
(The wind an ode to thee,
She hasn’t the need to fear
The hammer of
Nor the spear of
Nor the arrow of
For She is the sky above, limiting,
And the ground below, urging,
The foolish lover
She is the Object and Muse of
the poets plenty
She is the Strings,
Who tug and tug and drive man
This entity eternal
Yet merciless is the pulchritude
For when there is love
Strife must surely follow
And all the men virile
Turn to naught but feral
with Beauty, Love,
Visit the winning poems of other Odes to Olympians contests!
Concerned that you don't know enough about the Olympians to write poems about them? You can explore these websites:
Parada's Greek Mythology Link: A tremendously detailed resource
Theoi Greek Mythology: Exploring Classical mythology in Literature and Art
Timeless Myths: Greek myths and others as well
Several have wondered: who are we and why do we do this? What exactly is this “Tapestry of Bronze?”
First, our names are Victoria Grossack & Alice Underwood. We sponsor this contest because we want to encourage excellence and creativity. We’re using the same method used by the Greeks back in Classical Athens: competition. Instead of olive wreaths, we offer money and certificates for prizes. We especially want to encourage the under-18 because we want to support educators and students in our own small way. The idea occurred to us – most appropriately! – when we were visiting the ruins of ancient Olympia in Greece.
Second, the Tapestry of Bronze is a series of interlocking novels. They are set in the Bronze Age of Greece – several generations before the Trojan War. This was known to many as the “Golden Age of Heroes,” but to us they seem to be made of bronze and not gold. Our series is a tapestry, because the books tie together, but one book may focus on one character while another focuses on another. Each book can be enjoyed separately, or the books can be enjoyed together. As we state above, it is NOT necessary to purchase or to read our novels in order to enter the contests. However, purchasing the novels helps to support these contests.
Not sure if you’ll like the books? Then electronically download a sample at Amazon. Clicking on the covers below will take you to that company’s website.
Do you wish to contact us? Write to us at “tapestryofbronze” at “yahoo.com”
Buying our books helps support this and future contests!
A real page-turner . . . a wonderfully nuanced novel that repays previous knowledge of its subject matter - but never requires it -- Historical Fiction Review
An absorbing, quasi-historical portrait
of ancient Greece ... well-balanced update that maintains the original's
mythic suspense. -- Kirkus, May 2005
A world...as compelling as Tolkien's but
more rooted in actual history...in the spirit of Graves's I, Claudius.
The most amazing part of the series is how the authors retell the myths in such a way as to work for modern audiences.... definitely worth reading by fans of fiction and Greek mythology. --NS Gill, About.com, Ancient History
Very strongly recommended.
- Steve Donoghue, Historical Novels Review Online