Petra tou Romiou ("Rock of the Greek"), Aphrodite's legendary birthplace, Paphos, Cyprus, Wikipedia photo.
Petra tou Romiou (“Rock of the Greek”), Aphrodite’s legendary birthplace, Paphos, Cyprus, Wikipedia photo.

Curiosity of adolescent Dionē, climbing upon
Paphos ocean rocks, fisher-family’s daughter
Cresting shored sea boulders, birthplace of
Aphrodite, roused from deific repose, fates
Beyond sight of blesséd gods, thrusting girl
To goddess, surf crashing on ragged stone,
Once their minds mingled, two became as one.

Denied what Dionē was life-gifted, sea-born
Aphrodite ne’er a child, Neptunian creation
Appearing on towering Cyprian rocks. For the
Goddess, sea and land were disjoined, she
Knew not fascination of innocent eyes, idly
Exploring sandy shores, beauty of small sea-
Shells, skittering crabs or sanderlings.

Whilst Dionē enjoyed simple things, she took
To boats, mending nets, listening to fisher’s
Yarns, sailing boats beset in gales, clouds and
Sea dire-blended, mercurial images to agéd
Eyes, where Cyprian Aphrodite was prone to
Scandaled sex, loving Adonis, judgement of
Paris, his eloping with exotic Helen of Troy.

From this awakening, Aphrodite’s temerity
Was vanquished, seeds of virtue sewn in fertile
Minds, Dione and goddess metamorphosed anew,
On ships of sail they took to fishing seas, nets
Filled with Neptune’s bounty, inadvertently they
Wrested Sea Lord from his depths, puzzled why
His daughter mingled so with mortal child.

"Aphrodite Anadyomene," fresco from Pompeii, Casa di Venus, 1st century AD, Wikipedia photo.
“Aphrodite Anadyomene,” fresco from Pompeii, Casa di Venus, 1st century AD, Wikipedia photo.

By strength of thought and deed, Neptune
First sought to kill Dionē, but they were sisters
Fixed like sea and cloud. What fates had so
Decreed, Neptune could not rent asunder, his
Precious Aphrodite was sea-going maiden, who
worshipped ocean, sun, and air, sought not to
Tempt mortals with sexual pleasures.

Yet Neptune formed alluvial wedge, child’s
Fascination with ocean lights, he drove Dionē
To island strands, where an Oceanid she became,
Lesser deity dancing bright, warning fishers of
Rocks fog-shrouded, still Aphrodite was forever
Changed, loyalty to sea-father, soul-bound to
Dionē, lambent sister of keys and cays.

Homeric Hymn 10 to Aphrodite:
“Of Kythereia [Aphrodite], born in Kypros (Cyprus), I will sing. She gives kindly gifts to men: smiles are ever on her lovely face, and lovely is the brightness that plays over it. Hail, goddess, queen of well-built Salamis and sea-girt Kypros; grant me a cheerful song. And now I will remember you and another song also.”

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