Helen, left her most noble husband
and went sailing off to Troy with no thought at all
for her child or dear parents

Sappho, Fragment 16

a little girl watched an armada
of biremes hurtling to the north-east
with the lacedaemonian army
and their proud king, her father.

he did not tell her why. he just left.
but she heard it had something
to do with someone called paris,
and as she looked questioningly
at a beautiful woman standing
next to her, she stroked her cheek
and, sighing thoughtfully, replied,
“you see, men need their legends
to excuse their wars.”

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