Here is Elizabeth Browning,
All dour countenance, talent, frowning.
Here is Lady Colin Campbell
Like a storm from a more perfect hell.
By now I’ve forgotten the artist,
But one never forgets a tempest;
Or the sense of missing a soulmate
By such a considerable date.
As femmes fatales go, she wrote the book;
Don’t give Sarah Bernhardt a second look,
She can go shove her chaise longue along
And try out next door with the same song.
Gertrude Elizabeth Blood.
Not even old Charlie could
Dream up a more perfect name.
Though, when the wedding came,
She was pushed down beneath the paint,
Till all remains is pulchritude’s taint;
And beneath a husband’s title
Person and life are made less vital.
It’s tough to ask yourself to regret
Missing that potential tête-à-tête,
Cued-up by callous Eros,
With such a gulf of time to cross.
Or, maybe, it’s Aphrodite’s joke
To heap such risible thoughts on a bloke.
How many times does it happen each day?
The trick’s not to let them get in the way.
We should learn to keep our passions
About our own person, and ration
The potential to feel absurd –
Ready for when she gives the word.
Then, perhaps, she might be disposed
To transpose, with all that feline repose,
Into the pixie here on the dance floor;
Breaking free of titles, paint and frames,
After years of being briefly adored,
Afford us the thrill of becoming old flames.