Siwashing it out once in Siuslaw Forest
Break-ups & Vexed Love
Afterward, the compromise.
Bodies resume their boundaries.
These legs, for instance, mine.
Your arms take you back in.
Spoons of our fingers, lips
admit their ownership.
The bedding yawns, a door
blows aimlessly ajar
and overhead, a plane
singsongs coming down.
Nothing is changed, except
there was a moment when
the wolf, the mongering wolf
who stands outside the self
lay lightly down, and slept.
You love your friend, so you fly across the country to see her.
Your friend is grieving. When you look at her, you see that something’ s missing.
You look again. She seems all there: reading glasses, sarcasm, leather pumps.
What did you expect? Ruins? Demeter without arms in the British Museum?
Your friend says she believes there’ s more pain than beauty in the world.
When Persephone was taken, Demeter damned the world for half the year.
The other half remained warm and bountiful; the Greeks loved symmetry.
Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for fear I effuse unreturn’ d love,
But now I think there is no unreturn’ d love, the pay is certain one way or another
(I loved a certain person ardently and my love was not return’ d,
Yet out of that I have written these songs).
When I go away from you
The world beats dead
Like a slackened drum.
I call out for you against the jutted stars
And shout into the ridges of the wind.
Streets coming fast,
One after the other,
Wedge you away from me,
And the lamps of the city prick my eyes
So that I can no longer see your face.
Why should I leave you,
To wound myself upon the sharp edges of the night?
Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan
For that deep wound it gives my friend and me:
Is’ t not enough to torture me alone,
But slave to slavery my sweet’ st friend must be?
Me from myself thy cruel eye hath taken,
And my next self thou harder hast engrossed;
Of him, myself, and thee I am forsaken,
A torment thrice threefold thus to be crossed.
Prison my heart in thy steel bosom's ward,
But then my friend's heart let my poor heart bail;
Whoe’ er keeps me, let my heart be his guard:
O, call not me to justify the wrong
That thy unkindness lays upon my heart;
Wound me not with thine eye but with thy tongue;
Use power with power, and slay me not by art.
Tell me thou lov’ st elsewhere; but in my sight,
Dear heart, forbear to glance thine eye aside;
What need’ st thou wound with cunning when thy might
Is more than my o’ erpressed defense can bide?
Let me excuse thee: ah, my love well knows
Her pretty looks have been mine enemies;
And therefore from my face she turns my foes,
If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: “Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!”
Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.
And what is love? It is a doll dress’ d up
For idleness to cosset, nurse, and dandle;
A thing of soft misnomers, so divine
That silly youth doth think to make itself
Divine by loving, and so goes on
Yawning and doting a whole summer long,
Till Miss’ s comb is made a pearl tiara,
And common Wellingtons turn Romeo boots;
Then Cleopatra lives at number seven,
And Antony resides in Brunswick Square.
Fools! if some passions high have warm’ d the world,
If Queens and Soldiers have play’ d deep for hearts,
You left me – Sire – two Legacies –
A Legacy of Love
A Heavenly Father would suffice
Had He the offer of –
You left me Boundaries of Pain –
Capacious as the Sea –
Between Eternity and Time –
Your Consciousness – and me –