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7 More “Love” Poems For Kathy

LOGICAL KATHARINE

“Why, this is the stake to which I’ll tie you,

“This the torch to torture you and light your clothes;

“These hands of mine will knead your body, lovely,

“And these weeds are all that I will leave

“To show you how a faithful woman grieves.

“I will be spurious, ungenerous, a little bitch

“Who’ll bite and spite and harrow you,

“And all my meanness will be tantamount to faith.

“And, ah! your faults will be my loves

“And I will draw you through them to the fires

“And briars and brambles of a thousand, smartening tricks

“Until you know I hate you and I wish

“Your heart to flap and burn like heat-parched ricks

“On summer days in fields where water never chances…”

“Why do you say these things, my sweet?” I interrupt.

She turns on me and stamps and prances.

“Oh, I don’t say them. It’s just you

“Who think I do!”

 

SHE GLANCED AT HIM

You have done well, quite well.

They stopped between the trees:

(Huge chestnuts with their many-patterned leaves

Chasing themselves and drooping in the sultry air

Then bristling softly like an anger that won’t tell).

She glanced at him, then chased his life away

Over the brilliant hills where every leisure

Might have been, then, taking him by the hand (with pleasure):

“What darker days you’ll see than this!”

(While all her hopes moved stealthily, in bliss).

 

IF I COULD HAVE MY TIME AGAIN

If I could have my time again

I’d break her in a thousand ways,

She’d neither rule the roost

Nor hold the carrot to my nose

And I would play her game,

Knowing her stops and stays.

But all that I can do is slag

And shake these withered flowers from their earth,

Long for a law or chance of fate

To bring to book her nasty worth,

Long for a cancer or a power

To castigate her brightest hour:

And long that I could be

A little less (not more)

Than everything she’s been (although the nightmare

Has been tyrant to the dream),

Pray for a little tolerance

That makes a worthy stance,

Mostly a measurement to end

The senselessness she was,

A compensation that will sing

Worth in the face of loss…

 

TOO MUCH I’VE THOUGHT OF YOU

Too much I’ve thought of you

too little heeded

to the reining wind,

the cry upon the mouth that never speaks.

You see, my darling, I have thought of you

across a temptless harmony of weeks

nor given the wind a thought

nor mentioned to my mind your spirit of attack,

yet here in London, with the summer down my throat,

and every concrete empire stretched in lack,

a lonely passion for the insubstantial

kindles all that tires

when leaves are loosening on city pyres.

I see in flames, in blackened buildings,

in contorted trees, the spirit of your life

necessitating these.

 

A TYPICAL TALK WITH KATHARINE

“This is a stale circuit we travel on,

“an impossible circuit without bud or flower.

“If anyone knew what we two know,

“knew the dearth of this truculent power,

“they would agree with me, my dear, wouldn’t they?

“It is never the evidence of problems that defeats

“the still, small seed that should have reached the light;

“it is the lack of evidence, the silence held

“where all restraint should go to brook the night

“and know the problem of darkness, the pain of deceit.

“Will you not answer me now, my sweet?

“Surely when one sick fool would give his heart

“to speak and try to make some sense of chaos

“isn’t it better now, like startled birds starting

“at danger so they will not die, isn’t it better now

“to break this silence and be resolute

“in the assessment of our situation

“for, though I speak with rational restraint, regret,

“my dearest love, you see my eyes are wet,

“as dreary in their sockets

“as a skull where mud is set?

“Will you not speak or tell me what you think?

“You see, my precious, you are in this room with me;

“you have been close; you know the tortures you inflict;

“what is the point of sometimes pulling up

“the sinking ship if afterwards you stove it

“to its watery grave, then play the treasure-seeker there,

“not to uncover what would give life air?

“It is so pointless and so hurtful! Such a sham!

“My sweetheart, look at me! Look at the misery I’m in.

“Do not belittle me. My dearest, answer me.

“Answer this shambles of a loving man.

“What is the matter with our love?

“It seems to stunt the seeds before they have been flung.

“What do you think of this, my dearest?

“Answer me.”

Her hands are hung in the lovely tresses of her hair,

her hands are by her head,

so, taking them, I kiss them, then she says:

“Because I had my fingers in my ears,

“I didn’t hear a word you said.”

 

I SHOULD WRITE NOTHING

Kathy, lately

birds seem rarer.

Even in the lilacs

where the blackbird whistles,

boughs seem spent.

Foolish men who read their loss in nature’s

always wax too eloquent,

so, while I try to paint

a sense of desolation

in the brooks of heaven and streams of night

(wherever they may be),

I know it’s farce –

an enterprising manufacture making nothing laugh.

I should write nothing,

nothing makes more sense,

although, my darling,

when I mourn for you who travelled hence

(and left me, placing nothing in my arms)

my mind drifts out,

and like a fragment driven by the wind,

I have to write.

I have to wring these vague alarms.

I have to give to nothing something slight.

 

MISTRESS OF THE TASK

In the mulberry grove

my dear and I sat down.

She was the task-mistress,

I the clown.

Her hair like shadows fell,

her arms too slim, too white,

she the task-mistress,

I her knight.

She bid me fetch my ignorance,

my dearth of intellect,

she the task-mistress,

I the bet.

She bet I’d be

a thousand things

for she had beaten gold

and squared rings.

She bid me change;

she told me wrong.

See! the swallow fell

to silent song.

I changed myself.

I changed.

She the mistress of the course,

I the range.

But seeing how successful

I’d become,

she spurned me on to higher jails

for I was dun.

She wandered in the hell I was,

she tried to make it worse,

she the task-mistress,

I the curse.

But devils never love;

they do not cry, inflicting pain,

she the task-mistress,

I the bane.

She left me, said:

“You are too good!”

She the task-mistress,

I the blood.

She hated me; she said:

“I love you true.”

She the task-mistress,

I the mew.

The mulberry grove still spins

silken yarn…

she the task-mistress,

yellow, done.

(from “”Love” Poems For Kathy / Green. Laced. Leaves”)

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