You know how there are little enclaves in every city and people who live around them so often take them forgranted? Well, recent travels with my Paduan saw us idling about town waiting for Clare to complete an interview in Surrey Hills before we ventured down to Bondi Beach. The boy and I had an hour or so to kill on a steaming hot day so walked down towards a little patch of green where a clear and sparkling fountain provided at least the illusion of cool. Hyde Park is the city's central open green space. Originally the Park was a racecourse and sporting ground playing host to all manners of competition.
Today the only reminder of its early 19th century competitive heritage is the huge playable chess set that features on the western side of the Park. It's one of those parks that people walk through but rarely linger. By night it's filled with junkies and drunks but during the day it's an avenue of shade and leafy greenness bustling with suits and lunch time joggers. The central pathway through the park is an impressive, tiled, fig lined road linking two of the parks other features, the War Memorial and the Archibald Fountain . .
The fountain itself is not remarkable, except when lit up at night, but one of the sculptures that adorns it really took my breath away. I've walked by that fountain thousands of times and never really observed the detail. It takes me back to reading the Children's Wonder Book and it's fabulous renditions of Greek Myths.
I was obsessed as a child with all things antiquity. I wanted to be an archeologist, I wanted to drown in the fantasy of fair Sirens and adventurous sea farers. I wanted to avoid the Gorgon's glare and be swept off my feet by Jason or at the very least one of the Argonauts. I was Helen of Troy or a vestel virgin presented quivering and afraid to the Mighty Minotaur ready to be devoured by this half bovine,half human monstrosity. . . but he wouldn't have devoured me, metaphorically or physically.
I'd have soothed his savage breast, I'd have calmed his nerves. I'd have caressed his brow, felt sympathy for his lonely plight. After all, he was a being not of his doing but the result of Poseidon's curse. The progeny of a human woman and the mystical white bull given to Minos as a sacrificial gift.
Just look at him! Clinging to the vestages of his grim life onto the edge of the rose marble. Just look at his face - sad, resigned, beaten, submissive, pathetic, lonely, misunderstood. I'm such a sucker for lost souls. Yes . . . in my twisted imagination . . I would have been beauty to his beast.
I'm also a romantic twit! And it's such a gorgeous statue.
Please make it bigger so that you can see his face