My lovers all are gone and dead,
stone markers at their feet and head,
while I am left by mocking fate
to still endure and jubilate,
left to laugh and rage and rant,
freed by years of pose and cant,
left still to deal with storm and strife
instead of ageworn peaceful life.
Fled are the fathers, the Don Juans gone.
Fate counsels me to be forlorn,
bids me bend on arthritic knee
to mourn that lusty company.
I’m sorry, boys, but what the hell…
I’ve outlived you.. and so… farewell.
A GLOSS ON RONSARD
At midnight, when you watch the screen,
with a shawl upon your shoulder,
you’ll say, "Ronsard knows what I have been,
I’ve lost my looks as I grow older."
Drop your knitting into your lap,
sip at your lo-cal cocoa,
"He was always a fairly civil chap—
as poets go—but sometimes a little loco."
"He hailed the roses in my cheeks,
the emeralds in my eyes,
you can believe him when he speaks
of my long and silken thighs."
Churning the slush on 86th Street,
down-coated people struggle toward the subway
too beaten down by sleet to notice
the pot of mimosa in the florist’s window.
Indifferent to the hexagons of snow
upon my shoulders, I stand transfixed,
straddling the pavement and Provence,
the air suddenly dried by the sun’s heat
on our mimosa tree, its blossoms
swept by the Mistral on my palms
soft as down in a parka
gilded as your skin was then.
THE CHESTNUT MARE
See the prancy, dancy copaleen
with velvet nose and chestnut sheen.
watch her take the meanest oxers
with feet as fleet as any boxer’s.
See how steadily she rounds the course,
heart as brave as any larger horse,
spry to leap the tempting water
that could so easily have caught her.
Her hooves have whistled over the rail
where lesser mounts have been known to fail,
until she comes with sprightly canter,
minds her manners, starts to saunter
princess-proud before the judges’ box.
O lovely girl with four white socks!