Lament for a Fertile Father

Few boys
disparage
the joys
of marriage.
 
Most girls
imagine
the pearls
they'll cadge in
 
(nor dread
dead fish in)
the wed
condition.
 
O churls
so mulish
and girls
so foolish
 
by lust
so harried
they must
get married
 
and flip
and splash in
their drip-
ping passion!
 
Each soon
discovers
this boon
of lovers
 
a pot
of nettles
and rot-
ting petals.
 
Love's sleeve
of custard
shall leave
them flustered:
 
no oath
can stop its
dark growth
of moppets,
 
no saint,
no ices,
no quaint
devices,
 
no plug,
no stopper. . .
He'll hug,
he'll hop her,
 
and still
she'll quicken—
until
they sicken.
 
They will!
Time's trickle
will dill
their pickle.
 
As both
grow older,
he, loath
to hold her,
 
holds one
who, tiring,
grows un-
desiring.
 
Then talk
turns brutal.
Both balk.
It's futile.
 
Love's way
now seething
with ba-
bies teething,
 
their mad
begetting
now sad
regretting,
 
they may
well tremble:
for they
resemble
 
drunk sots
whose swinging
gavottes,
gay singing,
 
and horn-
y laughter,
the morn-
ing after
 
are groans,
shrieks, sobbing;
nerves, bones,
skulls throbbing:
 
love's blear
wild clover
now mere
hangover.
 
 
 
 




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Throughout a long life, Richard Moore has won through to the belief that the only real reward in the arts of writing is the writing itself. The first of his nineteen books was published and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize when he was 44. The books that followed have brought the total to a novel, a book of literary essays, translations of a Greek tragedy and a Roman comedy, and fifteen books of poetry. These include a sequence of fifty-eight Petrarchan sonnets, an epic of American history, and an epic in trimeter couplets whose hero is a mouse born and raised in a sewer.