Artemis and Beach Blanket Babylon

When I saw this statue of Artemis

photo by Sharyn Wilson

at the museum at Ephesus in Turkey, I was put immediately in mind of some of the hats I’ve seen on stage

the two times I’ve attended Beach Blanket Babylon in San Francisco. I mean, let’s face it, Artemis is wearing her temple on her head.

This is all that is left of her temple

once one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Now it’s one column with a stork’s nest on the top. There is definitely a “look on my works ye mighty and despair” feel at first sight, especially when you go directly there after seeing the model of the actual temple in the museum.

But Artemis Herself is marvelous. They haven’t decided yet what all those doohickeys hanging around her waist are, breasts or testicles or maybe fruit of some kind. But in this place at that time Artemis was all about fertility, so maybe all of the above.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
–Percy Bysshe Shelley


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