It seems a silly thing, an object rather
For study by the great pathologists,
That anyone should live in fear of Eros;
But just think how their names have swelled to lists:
The god who chased a woman to a tree;
The Moor who crushed the breath within his love;
That queen ensconced within a strange device
To feel the bullish loins thrust from above.
They cast themselves away, the cheerful ones,
One weird and flush-faced night too far from home,
Waking to find the sheets a twisted mess,
As if they were Petronius in Rome.
Fear him, yes, you should fear him on your life,
That red-cheeked child who never shows his face,
Who idles on your path with lurid eye
And leads you, wild, into a desolate place.
—James Matthew Wilson
Image by Birmingham Museum Trust via Creative Commons. Image cropped.