Age: 16, Grade: 10
School Name: Harvest Collegiate High School, New York, NY
Educator: Amara Thomas
Aphrodite and the Sea
The sun rose across the sky, like Aphrodite from the sea
Standing on the tip of her toes, waves rising
And setting, sand washed away
Underneath her feet each grain an impossibility of opportunity.
The moon set as Artemis rose,
One final hunt, on the waxing gibbous she thinks of death.
Greece falls, and she is Diana- a part of her has been taken, a different kind of death,
And still the moon rises, so clearly above the sea.
On the rolling fields of grain, Persephone stood, the autumnal equinox imminent, on a hunt
A search for something more, her head rising
Above the wheat, Ursa Major to her north, soon she will return to Hades, an opportunity
To start anew. The frost cleanses the earth, a chance to run away.
Athena stood in a grove, olive trees behind her, Athens falling away
in her peripheral. Spirits of the past surround her, reminding her of death
The way of the world has changed, but the way of the gods has not, no new opportunity.
And while Greece still stands, the stars still shine over the sea,
Her world has changed, new ideals rising
Religions fall, nothing stays. The world looks for something new, a search, a hunt.
Remember the Three Fates, those mythical sisters, holding thread as red as a rose,
tying and cutting as they see fit. In a second, life, washed away.
They tell us: don’t underestimate the inevitability of defeat, everything washes away with the sun’s rising.
They say: welcome it, for it is not an end, death.
They observe: death opens the door for life, let the new beginning and the old fall into the sea.
Welcome oblivion, They whisper. Allow a new opportunity.
Species go extinct before we can even name them, no opportunity
for discovery. Think of the words that rose
in your throat but were never spoken. Think of how waves only exist for a moment, then they disappear back into the sea.
Things fall away.
Yet the world welcomes change, death.
The gods of years gone by have been left in the dust, forgotten, no hope rising.
Yet the sun follows the same path in the sky, rising.
Wheat grows in the summer, each grain an opportunity.
The moon is ever present, not yet touched by death.
Wars are fought and won, a rose
still holds beauty. Humans hold hope. Not all has fallen away.
You can always tell the story of Aphrodite and the sea.
Throughout time, death has grounded us, the great equalizer, the last hurrah, from the ashes, nothing rising. But from the rubble comes a rose.
New things arrive, great opportunity, life doesn’t give up, it never goes away.
We keep persisting, tricking death, rising time and time again from the sea.