Monday, July 27, 2009

To Be Precise

The craft of writing is tricky. The ultimate challenge is to say the most with the fewest words possible. To be precise: the ultimate challenge I face when writing is being efficient. In my youth, I wrote about love. As I grew older, I had the notion that I was aging way too quickly. In my thinking it was unfair. "I wanted to stay a child in love forever. Because then I'd have to deal with real life problems and the world was mean."

The frustration of growing older consumed me and dictated my life for almost a decade. Goodness, I learned to accept the process of growing older by meeting and learning from the people around me who have lived way past 30.

Growing and moving forward is a beautiful thing. The following piece is by the poet Patty Kearney. Her blog with more of her work can be found at:


The dawn of my days has ended
Memories of childhood
Lingering in my mind

The sunny days of youth
Gone but not forgotten
As I wandered thru this life

Gentle breezes of womanhood
Swirl around me
Carrying the fallen leaves of age

Maturity has wrapped a cloak
Around this aging body
Guiding me along the path of time.

The dusk of my life approaches
And I have no fear of what it bring
My life is near its end.

"My life is near its end," Kearney writes. It is true, one dies once the time allotted on Earth is expired. But, in the meanwhile it is uncanny to live in emotional slumber when there is the world to experience.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A is for Adultery

Adultery can be very tempting. At least I tell myself that every time I wonder why my father left my mother for a potential dangerous woman (some women are wicked, though). Well, a seven year old child couldn't have known what adultery was. As it turns out adultery is older than Christ.

My favorite Classic poet is Ovid. Publius Ovidius Naso (Ovid is so much easier to remember) lived from around 43BC to around 17AD. The Metamorphoses, an epic poem, is one of his greatest works. It depicts the creation of the world with time and the entire Greek gods and goddesses imaginable.

In his later years Ovid was exiled from the Roman empire. Rumors speculate that he knew of a secret relationship from one of the nobles. Others say that Emperor Augustus exiled Ovid for political reasons. Whichever the case he wrote many a book while in exile and his poems still survive. For more on his life I advice Wikipedia, it seems to be one of the most enlightening resources to Ovid's history.

The following poem comes from one of his books, Amores. It is an example of adultery near it's youth between a married woman and a bachelor. I found the text for the poem and other works by Ovid at:

Of the many translations existing I enjoy this one the best.

From Amores; Book I Elegy IV: The Dinner-Party

Your husband too will be present at my banquet –
I pray it’s his last meal, that man of yours!
Shall I look at my beloved girl, like any guest?
One of you will be touching what he pleases, and will you
the other, rightly subject, be cherishing your love?
If he wishes, may he throw his arms round your neck?
I cease to wonder that the Centaurs full of wine
snatched up lovely Hippodamia in their arms.
I don’t live in the woods, or have limbs like a horse
but I can barely contain my hands when I see you!
Still, know what you must do, and don’t let
the east or the south wind go carrying off my words!
Arrive before your husband – not that I see what’s do-able
if you do come first, but still come before him.
When he sinks on the couch, as you recline at the table
there be the face of modesty itself – secretly touch my foot!
Watch me and my nods, and loquacious expression:
pick up their secret messages and yourself reply.
Voiceless, I’ll speak eloquent words with eyebrows:
my fingers will write words, words traced out in wine.
When the lasciviousness of our lovemaking occurs to you,
touch your radiant cheek with a delicate thumb.
If it’s some silent complaint against me you have in mind,
shadow your earlobe with a tender hand.
When what I do, and say, pleases you, light of my life,
keep continually twisting a ring with your fingers.
Touch your hands on the table, in the manner of prayer,
when you wish your husband many well-earned evils.
What he mixes for you, you know, order him to drink:
lightly ask the boy for what you wish, yourself.
What you give up to the boy I’ll take again first,
and, where you’ll drink from, I’ll sip from there.
If by chance he offers you what he’s tasted himself,
reject the gift of food from his mouth.
Don’t let him drape his arms around your neck,
or lay your gentle head on his firm chest,
or your breasts or convenient nipples accept his fingers.
Don’t, above all, be willing to yield a single kiss!
If you surrender kisses, I’ll make it clear I’m your lover,
and say ‘they’re mine!’, and take possession.
Still all this I can see, but what the cloth may well hide
that’s the cause of my secret fears.
Don’t touch thigh to thigh, or mingle legs,
or join the hard and the tender foot to foot.
Wretch, I fear everything, who’ve boldly done it all,
behold, I’m tormented by fear of my own example.
Often my girl and I, with quick pleasure,
completed the sweet work, the cloth covering us.
You won’t do that: but, so you’re not thought to have done,
remove that guilty cloth from your table.
Always suggest he drinks – but lips, disappoint his prayers!
While he drinks, if you can, in secret, add neat wine.
If he lies there sedately full of drink and sleep,
the time and place will give us wisdom.
When you and I and all get up to leave for home,
remember to be in the middle of the moving crowd.
I’ll find you in that procession, or you me:
whenever you’ve a chance to touch me, touch away.
Alas for me! I’m reminded, I only gain a few hours:
I’ll be separated, on night’s orders, from my girl.
The man shuts you in at night, I sad, with welling tears,
as is right, always haunt that cruel entrance.
now he exacts kisses, now not merely kisses,
what you give me secretly, you give him by force of law.
But give them reluctantly –you can do it – as if forced,
hold back blandishments, and let Venus be stingy.
If my prayers have power, I wish no pleasure for either:
if not that, then at least no pleasure for you!
But still whatever fortune brings tonight, tomorrow
to me, with constant voice, deny you gave him anything!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ad Lucium

Some people have a reputation that masks all their talents. That's what I think of Aleister Crowley at least. Better known as the, "wickedest man alive," he was an astounding writer. Crowley's poetry has a confidence I've never seen before. Easy to fall in love with. Here is an exerpt of "Ad Lucium," found on Black Cat Poems

I will kiss thee and fondle and woo thee
And mingle my lips into thine
That shall tingle and thrill through and through thee
As the draught of the flame of a wine;
I will drink of the fount of our pleasure
Licking round and about and above
Till its streams pour me out their full measure,
O Lucius, love!

Thou shalt clasp me and clamber above me
And press me with eager desire,
Thou shalt kiss me and clip me and love me
With a love beyond infinite fire,
Thou shalt pierce to the portals of passion
And satiate thy longing and lust
In the fearless Athenian fashion,
A rose amid dust.

We will taste all delights and caresses
And know all the secrets of joy,
From the love-look that chastity blesses
To the lusts that deceive and destroy;
We will live in the light of sweet glances,
By day and by night we will move
To the music of manifold dances,
O Lucius, love!

"Ad Lucium," is an erotic poem that doesn't blatantly expose it's theme. Also, there is nothing pornographic about this poem. Erotic literature does not have to be pornographic to be effective. It doesn't even have to mention body parts or bodily functions of sex (orgasm, moan, etc).