Lament for a Fertile Father

Few boys
the joys
of marriage.
Most girls
the pearls
they'll cadge in
(nor dread
dead fish in)
the wed
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
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
no plug,
no stopper. . .
He'll hug,
he'll hop her,
and still
she'll quicken—
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-
Then talk
turns brutal.
Both balk.
It's futile.
Love's way
now seething
with ba-
bies teething,
their mad
now sad
they may
well tremble:
for they
drunk sots
whose swinging
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

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.