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The Passional Note Post by :RogRiney Category :Poems Author :Bert Leston Taylor Date :October 2011 Read :833

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The Passional Note

"The erotic motive is almost entirely absent from American poetry. Even our younger American poets are more profoundly interested in the why and wherefore of things than in the girdle of Helen or the gleaming limbs of 'the white implacable Aphrodite.'"
--MR. SYLVESTER VIERECK.


In the years of my season erotic,
When Eros was lord of my days,
And I loved, with a love idiotic,
The Mabels and Madges and Mays;
When a purple and passionate lyric
Would sing all the night in my head,--
I yearned, like the young Mr. Viereck,
For everything red.

I doted on poems of passion,
And put my own pantings in rime,
To celebrate, after a fashion,
The damsels who took up my time.
I fed upon Swinburne, believe me,
I feasted on Byron and Burns,
And couplets from Sappho would give me
Most exquisite turns.

How apparent it was that our songbirds--
Our Emerson, Lowell, and Payne,
And Bryant and Drake--were the wrong birds
To pipe to the passional strain.
There was, in a word, nothing doing
In all of the rimes that they wrote;
They seemed to be always pursuing
The ethical note.

What truth, I inquired, was so mighty,
What ethical thing was so rare,
As the limbs of the white Aphrodite
Or a strand of her heaven-kissed hair!
The girdle of red-headed Helen
Outweighed all the wherefores and whys,
And Wisdom elected to dwell in
A pair of blue eyes.

Now lyrical sizzlers and scorchers
Fail somehow to set me ablaze;
No longer are exquisite tortures
Provoked by these passionate lays.
I've tinned--and I can't say I've missed 'em--
The poems of passion and sin.
Some things one gets out of one's system,
And other things in.

 

L'ENVOI.

"Go, little book," as Poet Southey said;
You might be better and you might be worse.
With just one word of warning you are sped:
Remember, you're not Poetry--you're Verse.


(The end)
Bert Leston Taylor's poem: Passional Note

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