Toreador Fresco
(1500 BC)
Minoan art, Palace of Knosses,
Archeological Museum, Herakleion


The Toreador Fresco 


by Beth Houston





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c. 1500 BC

The sun-red male athlete grasps his bull’s horns,
Somersaults over the long arching back
Of beast energy swept in curving forms
Between two moon-white women — this smooth act
Is coded in the complex border, days
And nights, a month of tracks striped dark and light,
Cycling lunettes colored for each moon phase,
Four framed years of days doubled put us right
Where solar years and lunar rendezvous.
The border shapes a box with X inside:
The labrys housed in Minos’ palace. Through
The Minotaur’s labyrinth, worlds coincide:
His priestess’s rhythmic dances that tred
The calendar, pull Ariadne’s thread.

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