i never saw your back before the sun.i am not even sure you turned your back. maybe you were spinning the entire time. i have heard the sun does the same; like the earth and all the other planets they ever talked about. but this is about you and me - not they - the way i see you, the way that i have wondered about the way you see me, what happened yesterday and ten thousand years ago; or not.
i remember nothing of your birth, nor your parentage, nor your presumably divine youth. of course, you are ageless as mankind and, though amorphous, saddled with the shapeliness of woman. are you beautiful? are you loving? are you sexually
inclined? did you deliver justice to your dear child's dearest psyche, castoff and captive far from future harmony's happy home? and your son - the pint-sized cherub some call blind, although he aims each ardent arrow from his upright bow with such deftness, indiscriminate and true, no one not a mark, no heart found undeserving – is he for sale, this boy? did you have him to hate what he loves? is he not produced of a tryst you bade planting allgood with a fluent, fleetfoot, thieving herald, he of the fine, razor wit, his missives sharp and quick, silver of tongue?
what of your husband? strong, dexterous armourer to olympic champions, bathed in sweat, atoil before his volcanic forge beneath the towering, storied mountain's iron fundament, jeweler of heavenly wives and exquisite nymphs, he who transcended ugliness and handicap to receive you in hot blooded holy matrimony, that blessed bond consecrated by the high and hoary father of all; did he net you in his own diaphanous bed with that wily warrior because you foresaw the day when jesus proclaims: "there will be no marriage in the kingdom of heaven!" or do you simply like a languid roll in the harvest's hay, a good fuck and the rough embrace of leathery, dangerous, blood-stained hands? where are the pair of towhead tots you bore your wise and cynic soldier? was it his affection that inspired you to proscribe a certain beauty contest where mortal lass bewitched a mortal lad, a choice that spawned lean years of murderous treachery and heroic pandemonium, a genesis of venomous plunder and rape miscarried, unjust, dwindling the splendid, bounteous booty bounding the thousand isles describing your old, known world by man and god alike? and was that you i spied, bedazzling, painted, in the raw, birthday suited, strawberry tresses all in ringlets, all modesty in your mien, your veil afloat upon a bluster, slender feet toeing the rippled contours corrugating a gargantuan mollusk's half-wide open, glossy shell?
i know how foolish i am to question you, my love, placing earthly ethics in your stellar sphere. but you're still coming round after millennia upon millennia to challenge our one and only, ever-luminous and free giver of light, to compel he cast your shadow 'pon this wanting, rolling rock. people got their war on, still. new science usurps spirit, the old math don't add up. folk keep calling angels to pay their past due bills...
pundits say you're cold and icy, barren, bereft of life, a bright reflection best beheld to the north - nestled in your dark aerie - when engulfed by winter night. ancient mariners once hung to your shining skirts, sailing south on seven seas. you say nothing, i need nothing (that i hear); we're even stevens, then; just, like two peas. once i wondered why you left me, when it was i who left you.
o, wan and sultry goddess, second planet from the sun, i know you are no spry and sprightly temple whore grown crass and venal crone. i shall dispel these myths they spread - the fables they learn, these tattles they tale, pure scandal, lies - unashamed. i shall share the luster you kindle, i shall see all in beloved spirit, all unflagging happiness, will all in childish grace; and if not, i'll touch wicked illusions, taste my fears' confusions burning me, inhuman, my buried bellyache to burst. o, god, o goddess, how do i love you, too, sweet-tempered, pleasing venus, precious gift, my kindness, faith, my strength? o joy! here, you are not my problem, where there is none. i could never make you workhorse, nor a warship; tho you protect – you soothe – me, you are not my slave; you are: my every balm and unguent. my undying peace, my butterfly, my innards' healing salve.
Hudson, New York Venus transit the Sun June 2004