Wednesday, March 9, 2011

427 If you could love me (Poems of Exile)

This poem is from my collection The Poems of Exile, inspired by Seneca, or pseudo-Seneca.  An explanation of their genesis is posted in The Madness of Exile.  Poem 427 is one of the most corrupt in the original collection, which has given me plenty of leeway to interpolate. 

After the grim and unappealing 'Horrid Corsica' I want to show a different side to the imaginary poet.


If you could love me…

my sweet love, if you could love me like this:
alone to bed (Hesperus would see this)
alone (Lucifer would see this) to arise
no passage of time would cease our borrowed love
and in return you would always be loved

if only you would deny that you surrender, so often, to others
if only you would surrender, more often, to me

and your betraying snare, squeezing my soul, my heart, my pride

I want to give you my nights complete:
            you are unavailable
            you condemn the wasted night
and my empty bed is hostage to your cruel fear

once, you promised me, for life:  no more
            one senseless quarrel leaves me alone:
            when I was down with the ‘political illness’
            you flirted with your entire body
and then you denied our love

surely, you gave a thousand kisses to senators
            they say you were generous

you ensnared me so slowly:
            briefly, you were my dear woman
            eternally dear, in truth

your love affairs defeat me so quickly:
            jealousy stretches the night to endless torture

            I am always awake

8 comments:

Dave King said...

This is brilliant, fascinating stuff.

Isabel Doyle said...

Dave, I am so pleased you like it. Compliments are always welcome

Old Ollie said...

Passionate poem

...this is what fire up so many great poems.

Lolamouse said...

Wow. Amazing and interesting poem. Makes me want to find out more about this story!

Kim Nelson said...

I AM ALWAYS AWAKE.
Great, simple ending to a complicated piece. I love the juxtaposition of tones and tempo.

Andy said...

Loved the way you composed this.

Ella said...

This was such a journey; your way with words and the wonder you evoked~
Well Done~

Isabel Doyle said...

Thank you to 'Old Ollie', 'Lolamouse', Kim, Andy and Ella. I am so please you enjoyed the imaginary poet's frustrated love song, even after 2000 years. I hope to post more of the Seneca/Doyle oeuvre over the coming weeks and months (there are 75 of them!). I was pleased there was a prompt I could link to as I fear the 'Poems of Exile' may be a little er, dry...