Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Muse Who Came to Stay, by Erica Jong

The Muse Who Came to Stay

You were the first muse who came to stay.
The others began and ended with a wish,
or a glance or a kiss between stanzas;
the others strode away in the pointed boots of their fear

or were kicked out by the stiletto heels of mine,
or merely padded away in bare feet
when the ground was too hard or cold
or as hot as white sand baked under the noonday sun.

But you flew in on the wings of your smile,
powered by the engine of your cock,
driven by your lonely pumping heart,
rooted by your arteries to mine.

We became a tree with a double apical point,
reaching equally toward what some call heaven,
singing in the wind with our branches,
sharing sap and syrup,
which makes the tree grow thick.

We are seeding the ground with poems and children.
We are the stuff of books and new-grown forests.
We are renewing the earth with our roots,
the air with our pure oxygen songs,
the nearby seas with leaves we lose
only to grow the greener ones again.

I used to leap from tree to tree,
speaking glibly of Druids,
thinking of myself a latter-day dryad,
or a wood nymph from the stony city,
or some other chimerical creature,
conjured in my cheating poet's heart.

But now I stay, knowing the muse is mine,
knowing no books will banish him
and no off-key songs will drive him away.

I being and begin; I whistle in and out of tune.
If the ending is near, I do not think of it.
If the drought comes, we will make our own rain.
If the muse is grounded, I will make him fly,
and if he falls, I will catch him in my arms
until he flies with me again.

-Erica Jong
Old photo, I believe is by Duffy,
and had to be retouched by me!

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