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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