Dr. Seuss meets Prufrock ~

Do I dare to eat a peach?
Why yes, I ate one on the beach!
(You know that beach, my little squirt:
The one where mermaids come to flirt.)

I liked that peach so much, I swear
I’d eat a peach most anywhere.
I’d eat one on a sawdust floor,
I’d eat one standing at your door.

I’d eat one in the golden glow
Of rooms where women come and go.
I’d eat one any chance I got,
I’d eat a peck—that’s quite a lot!

This Prufrock is a silly man
To wonder if he truly can.
He can, I know. I’m sure he could,
If he just told himself he would.

The best things come to those who dare—
Unless they choose to eat a pear.
For that, I make no guarantee.
A pear can’t match a peach, you see!

 

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Poem #2 ~

I Watched You Without Blinking

In the twilight of your sinking
I grew calloused to your grief.
I thought I loved you less and less.
I watched you without blinking.

From the lies about your drinking
I conceived the need to leave.
Words were weapons in my telling. Still,
I watched you without blinking.

Once, you lay in bed unthinking,
Slack. You floated toward death’s port.
But the doctors turned the tide back as
I watched you without blinking.

In the aftermath of stinking
Guilt, my shame came to the fore.
I’d cut the line, so fine, between us.
I had watched you without blinking.

When I strove for our relinking,
You were carapaced with hate.
My hands, outstretched, stayed empty, for
I’d watched you without blinking.

My heart curled gray and shrinking
As your world grew small and strait.
You chose the path toward Not to be.
I watched you without blinking.

You handed off your grief to me.
I cannot keep from blinking.
Now I fight to shed the darkness
Of the twilight of your sinking.

This poem is for and about Steve, my second husband. The third stanza, which may be too inscrutable, refers to his failed suicide attempt. By the time he died he was my ex-husband, but for many reasons I felt much more like a widow than a divorcée. My sense is that this may be the last time I write about him. If you’re fairly new to this blog and are interested, see Into the Confessional and Steve.

The title of this poem comes from a 2004 painting by Ikenaga Yasunari called “I Watch You Without Blinking.” As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to write something using the same title. I was thinking of a short story. Instead, I set out to write a villanelle, but it morphed into the quatrain form above while still using a repeating-line motif. The first and last lines of each stanza rhyme, and the last line of each stanza is the same (with small variations), until the final stanza. The last line of the poem repeats the first line. Every two stanzas have second lines that rhyme, though usually with a slant rhyme. 

Poem #1 ~

David

When I found him he was cold.
White foam filled his open mouth,
Foam stiffened like lace spun with bone,
Stiff as an age-old argument.
Death wins it.

He lay aslant his bed,
felled before he could stand.
His eyes were closed; sealed and done.
The dog was barking and barking
Over her empty dish.

David, with whom I had a turbulent on-again/off-again relationship for four years, died last November. What I wrote here is true, but I’m not sure what I think about the poem itself, or the fact that I’m posting it. I wrote two poems tonight, the first serious poems I’ve written in decades that I did not immediately discard. This is the second one, though it’s labeled Poem #1. When I come apart I go backwards.

Doggerel ~

I’ve decided to delete my Doggerel page. Since it doesn’t allow posts, no one ever knows if I’ve added anything there. So I’ll just incorporate poems as posts on my Home page. Here are the three poems I had on the Doggerel page. I shouldn’t call it doggerel; it’s really light verse. Both share an emphasis on regular meter and rhyme schemes, but doggerel is clichéd and usually saccharine. Light verse, at its best, is exemplified by Lewis Carroll and Ogden Nash and Dorothy Parker, masters whom I could not begin to approach but whose cleverness I greatly admire.

––––– Aug. 28, 2013
I posted a link on Facebook to an article about pufferfish and the beautiful circular patterns they make in the sand. After a friend admitted having eaten fugu (pufferfish), I wrote this.

On Fugu

I understand the pufferfish
Will make a most delicious dish.
But if your chef is none too swell
And cuts that fish up none too well,
You’ll soon find that your lovely lunch
Will pack a fatal-istic punch.

––––– Aug. 28, 2013
This poem was written for a plant biology professor after his return from a research trip to Romania.

On Romania

Romania’s a lovely place
With Vlad so long deceased.
But Hollywood, with sex in mind,
Won’t let Drac rest in peace.
A vampire here, a vampire there,
And soon you’ve got a coven.
The things they do sure seem to be
Some bloody twisted lovin’.

––––– Aug. 28, 2013
I originally posted this poem to my Facebook page; hence the title and the jargon.

Facebook Fantasia

Some knight on a quest may encounter my wall.
He’ll scale to the top, though it be very tall.
He’ll sure-foot each solid and each wobbly brick,
Take note of each petroglyph, cranny, and nick.
Oh my, he may think, even at my ripe age
I must friend the woman who fosters this page.
We’ll happily share all our ones and our zeros
And pledge to be each other’s sweet cyber-heroes.
I’ll let my fantasies take me this far,
For love at its core is a binary star.