Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Paella Ingenium Nobis Sunt

It is a woman, always,
makes the poem. She moves
the poet's mind, which,
helpless, forms the words.

Disdaining weakness, we have
made a heroism of this art.
We've called it genius, said
our pain is proof of strength.

But it's a woman's beauty,
always, speaks in poems,
not the eye for pleasure, we
are happy to pretend is love.

Be all this as it may, you
turned your body on your heel.
It's now a purity of form,
my love—a strophe.

Note: As this post and the previous one reveals, I'm trying my hand at poetry of a pretty ordinary kind these days. Both of these came to me virtually whole. It is interesting that it is still possible for a man, in the twenty-first century, to write this poem. Indeed, to let a woman (in fact, a series of women, all repeating the same gesture in some way, over a series of days, some wholly strangers on the street, some closer to home) inspire it. As a poem, it doesn't impress us much (hence this note to apologize for it). If I were still a young man, we might sort it among my juvenalia. Count it instead among my "antiquaria", my nostalgia for a time when poetry held a simpler place in society, when "the civil status of seduction" was better understood. Last night I read a few lines of Dylan Thomas and Robert Burns. That ought to explain it.

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