Monday, July 19, 2010

He Was a Hard Guy to Live With


The Poetry Bus, driven by Argent, seeks unrequited love this week, or comedy. Them's the choices. My eldest daughter is visiting from Portland, Oregon, and we've had a busy weekend, so I asked her to pick a poem from my past. Here's the one she chose, an old tongue-in-cheek piece with an excruciating rhyme scheme about a relationship gone bad.

She Must Have Been a Masochist


Gentle jailor, blessed foe,
If you broke this yoke I would not go,
Nor would I were the lock ajar,
The cuffs uncuffed and the lash laid low—
If free of such, I’d not fly far
Before I craved the clutch of iron and chain
And my cold bed, where I have lain
And carved my name in stone
More nights than stars have known.
I know no home beyond these bars and claim
No wish to flee. I can’t abscond.
I have no lord but thee. Your scepter whip
Your reins and key are instruments of sanity.
What meaning lies in the land beyond?

Though my cellar be severe,
Sweet warden, all is clear in here:
These black shackles bond
My pale arms where they belong.
Had I not their iron grip, how should I stand?
How should I know the sun had dipped
Beneath the edge of land, without that
Slanting scrap of light?
How should I sense without your whip
To cut me as it kisses,
To burn me as it lays me bare,
Singing has it hisses through the air?

My nerves have come to love the pain.
My neck would break without the chain.
I choose it so. I bear your mark.
My eyes have grown to love the dark.

22 comments:

Argent said...

Killer ending! Quite insightful too - there are people like this, strangely. Possibly the most unusual take on the theme this week.

Erratic Thoughts said...

Masochist she must be...hmmm
Jizz!You put me to shame...
This one is a true masterpiece...
You are one crazy poet...:)
~Cheers

Brian Miller said...

love blinds us snad leads us into some pretty strange places...this brought some scary thoughts to mind of some ladies i know...

Rachel Fox said...

I like those last 4 lines. Almost a poem on their own.
x

evalinn said...

That´s a dark story!

izzy said...

Wow! what else could I say- all the rhyme and rhythm ! Images are great thanks!

Dianne said...

excellent. hope you had a great weekend! I'm kidless all week, can you believe it?

this also brings to mind the tough choices people make to stay sober...

Di

Magpie said...

Your mastery of the English language is awesome. Where do you find the words? Wonderfully beautiful in a sad way.

Gwei Mui said...

Wow this is dark, sad and terribilly bautiful

Helen said...

Your daughter chose wisely ... a dark, deep tale of 'all-wrong' love! and nicely written ..........

TechnoBabe said...

Some people are into pain. So much that they hurt themselves if outside pain isn't giving them enough hurt. Astounding that someone would grow to love the dark, or the dark side of life. Awesome writing though.

jinksy said...

I agree with Rachel - I like the last four lines as a stand alone poem.
The rest are a bit too masochistic for comfort, methinks. I hope the bus arrived to save the poor woman from their grip!

Poet in Residence said...

I'm jangled and amngled after reading that. It's effective. It even starts of with the same beat as "Gentle Jesus meek and mild..." pow! Now, I feel like I need a stiff drink.

Dominic Rivron said...

Dark and disturbing - especially that good last line.

Tom Lehrer did a song, the Masochism Tango - although it's funny, not dark:

I ache for the touch of your lips, dear,
But much more for the touch of your whips, dear.
You can raise welts
Like nobody else,
As we dance to the masochism tango.

Jeanne Iris said...

This is marvelous, E.O. I love the poetic dissonance that builds to an almost chant-like ending. Excellent!

Dave King said...

Bravo! Magnificent! They should make it required reading in every school from infants upwards! Venus in Furs as verse. Marvellous.

Lydia said...

Your poem is stunning and sickly sensual! I think I'll go take that personality test in your sidebar as a result of my attraction to this one...

Shadow said...

dark. sad. hopeless? freightening! what writing!!!

Titus said...

Loved it, shades of the great film, "The Night Porter". I've noticed a lot of the unrequited love poems have gone for complex syntax and rhyme and an "old-fashioned" poetic feel. Now why is that, I wonder? It's suiting the theme terribly well.

Syd said...

I think that coming to love the pain is a treacherous thing. But the suffering and pain taught me a lot. And can be blessings in disguise.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Starts well and builds and grows darker and deeper and better as it goes along buiding to a crescendo with that fatal last line.Mighty.

crazyfieldmouse said...

Tongue in cheek maybe ... but pleasure and pain are never that far apart are they. Very 'gothic' atmosphere going on, I liked it.
thanks for sharing
cfm

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