My poetry can achieve,
Just with the way it makes the reader breathe,
A simulated feeling of love, I believe.
The same way the eye
Engenders love if it happens to spy
A Michelangelo die
In the shuffling distance of a further room,
When, descending great marble stairs,
One glances back, and, between three figures, sees
A woman, with marble thighs, on her knees,
The solidity of the female form fending off the abstract tease,
As something real is ruthlessly pictured,
As though, for all its closing gloom,
The appalling darkness permeating the museum room,
Were a friend, because it keeps
From too much contemplation those aesthetic leaps
The artist suffered, and you now look
Superficially—a shortcut to all the depth you might find in a book—
Towards reality, and all it makes you believe
Of life. And as you read this, for a moment, you don’t breathe.
There. Did that feel like love? Or was this merely a fancy trick
Of a poem’s ghostly rhetoric?
Yes, it was a trick. And love requires a true object. Darling, it requires you.
But there weren’t many poets in the museum. And true poets are few.