FOR TOM: NIT-PICKING APPLES


…………………………………………………………………….Winslow Homer, Picking Apples

.

……….Old Foreplay for New Women Including Men

……………….O, how wrong you fierce suitors have it
……………….stripping off the dark, secret wraps
……………….that lighten length and breadth
……………….and scenery on earth—
……………….the furtive root grabs downward
……………….only because great tentacles of hot
……………….rival might lift our silt-lapped
……………….limbs much harder still,
……………….like sunlight
……………….prying up the whole orchard’s sap!

……………….No, the weight of things is just
……………….another flight,
……………….like Leda’s modest thighs
……………….giving plain wings the chance
……………….to sanctify earth’s godliest yearnings.

……………….As the arrow by the playful string
……………….the heady soul is ever fired by
……………….the archly absent body—
……………….draped arabesques of trembling skin
……………….and shining pubis so defying gravity
……………….even the most upright Jove
……………….or holy Galileo
……………….bearded like our father’s angel
……………….tumbles to the maiden yet again,
……………….so hotly does the dreaming quiver
……………….fletched in abstract plumage
……………….hunger
……………….even for a single pomegranate kiss
……………….that scatters weight
……………….like rubies!

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5 Comments

  1. thomasbrady said,

    February 19, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I stand by what I said once about this poem because I was thinking harder about it then than I ever will again…which might seem like a back-handed compliment, but is not… Was that a puff?… Nay, I found real things…

    Blurb-writers, look upon this and despair!

  2. Christopher Woodman said,

    February 19, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    I had hoped you wouldn’t remember way back then, Tom, and take my bait with all that line and sinker. But you did, and I thank you for it very much.

    On the other hand, your analysis, skillful and perceptive as it is, doesn’t touch on the themes that led me to post it here again today.

    Because it’s only now the real work begins. For everything there is a season, and however good a poem may be, it always has a context. Indeed, poems are never good or bad but thinking makes them so, and “Old Foreplay” is at this moment confronting another, wholly different challenge.

    So does “Old Foreplay” speak to you any differently now, Tom? Does it connect to the discussion about “Legs in the Air,” for example, or “Ode to Psyche,” or “Tornado,” or the death of Ophelia? Or that horrible little word “esoteric” that I just introduced on “PIG,” and yes, dared to argue could also be a poetic concept?

    Or “purple?”

    Does it speak to you like this at all, or do you feel that poems shouldn’t intrude in aesthetic and/or philosophical discussions? Are poems allowed to take a stand, and if they do so, does that limit their success?

    Does my poem fail because it talks?

    And even if you think it does, what’s it saying?

    Christopher

  3. thomasbrady said,

    February 19, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Christopher,

    Since I’m too matter-of-fact to be a believer, too plain in imagination to follow any faith, too comfortable in my own skin to ever be flogged by a priest, I scan poetry while eating my apple for a little religion, since we all need some.

    Your work brings this out in me strongly, for your poetry seems terribly and awfully involved in some kind of moral lesson and pricks up my religious sense; you seem almost a devil in your poems, arguing for sex, the importance of it, the thrill of it, and if I would divide all moral advice in two: 1. Be chaste! 2. Make love!, not that it’s this either/or choice, but, dramtically, this is the only one, I feel you tugging me to the side of libido, sensuality, as if you were using this fire to fan your verse.

    Down, you tempter, down!

    Thomas

  4. Christopher Woodman said,

    February 20, 2010 at 3:06 am

    The libido is divided into two parts — desire as a yearning unappeased and desire as fuel for transport.

    The imagination serves the first best, and culminates in ease and fulfillment because it never gets there — the latter, reason, culminates in satiation and disgust. The former changes us, the latter enables us to get what we already know and think we really need because we want it.

  5. thomasbrady said,

    February 20, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    The transport of half-god impulses is the best hope; a sorry lot we are, to either sit like chaste stones or burn like dry grass so that we might be gods; only the poet blessed with odd combinations of half-measures succeeds.
    As Romeo says, before meeting Juliet, “Being but heavy, I will bear the light.”
    Mercutio: “Nay, gentle Romeo, we will have you dance.”


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