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Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: lg (
Date: January 14, 2005 02:44AM

How have women poets depicted men in their poems?

Got any zingers out there? Post them here. This link will help get you started thinking in the right direction: [] /> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Margaret Widdemer

If you should tire of loving me
Some one of our far days,
Oh, never start to hide your heart
Or cover thought with praise.

For every word you would not say
Be sure my heart has heard,
So go from me all silently
Without a kiss or word;

For God must give you happiness,
And Oh, it may befall
In listening long to Heaven-song
I may not care at all!


Post Edited (01-15-05 14:34)

Re: Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: lg (
Date: January 14, 2005 02:51AM

---Sylvia Plath

"Dans le fond des forÍts votre image me suit."

There is a panther stalks me down:
One day I'll have my death of him;
His greed has set the woods aflame,
He prowls more lordly than the sun.
Most soft, most suavely glides that step,
Advancing always at my back;
From gaunt hemlock, rooks croak havoc:
The hunt is on, and sprung the trap.
Flayed by thorns I trek the rocks,
Haggard through the hot white noon.
Along red network of his veins
What fires run, what craving wakes?

Insatiate, he ransacks the land
Condemned by our ancestral fault,
Crying: blood, let blood be spilt;
Meat must glut his mouth's raw wound.
Keen the rending teeth and sweet
The singeing fury of his fur;
His kisses parch, each paw's a briar,
Doom consummates that appetite.
In the wake of this fierce cat,
Kindled like torches for his joy,
Charred and ravened women lie,
Become his starving body's bait.

Now hills hatch menace, spawning shade;
Midnight cloaks the sultry grove;
The black marauder, hauled by love
On fluent haunches, keeps my speed.
Behind snarled thickets of my eyes
Lurks the lithe one; in dreams' ambush
Bright those claws that mar the flesh
And hungry, hungry, those taut thighs.
His ardor snares me, lights the trees,
And I run flaring in my skin;
What lull, what cool can lap me in
When burns and brands that yellow gaze?

I hurl my heart to halt his pace,
To quench his thirst I squander blood;
He eats, and still his need seeks food,
Compels a total sacrifice.
His voice waylays me, spells a trance,
The gutted forest falls to ash;
Appalled by secret want, I rush
From such assault of radiance.
Entering the tower of my fears,
I shut my doors on that dark guilt,
I bolt the door, each door I bolt.
Blood quickens, gonging in my ears:

The panther's tread is on the stairs,
Coming up and up the stairs.


Re: Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: lg (
Date: January 14, 2005 03:05AM

Pain In Pleasure
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

A thought lay like a flower upon mine heart,
And drew around it other thoughts like bees
For multitude and thirst of sweetnesses;
Whereat rejoicing, I desired the art
Of the Greek whistler, who to wharf and mart
Could lure those insect swarms from orange-trees
That I might hive with me such thoughts and please
My soul so, always. foolish counterpart
Of a weak man's vain wishes ! While I spoke,
The thought I called a flower grew nettle-rough
The thoughts, called bees, stung me to festering:
Oh, entertain (cried Reason as she woke)
Your best and gladdest thoughts but long enough,
And they will all prove sad enough to sting !


Post Edited (01-14-05 02:40)

Re: Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: rikki (
Date: January 14, 2005 05:16AM

Check Mate

It was still raining hard outside,
So they'd postponed their picnic till next weekend
and he'd set up a chess board and lit a fire,
and altogether it was quite homely.

It's true, isn't it, she said somewhat smugly,
That the queen's the most powerful piece on the board,
And can move, free-spirited, wherever she wishes.
In a way, he replied, but the king's still THE most important piece.

The pristine bishops continued with oblique movements
To wipe out their opposing congregations.

The king, she said, as she castled,
Thinking about her English childhood,
Just seems to plod along and be defended.
I think of him as calculating, and prudent, he said.

She considered trying for a stalemate to finish the game,
So she could sit by the fire and stroke the cat instead.

He thinks he's playing draughts, she thought,
Just taking whatever he can with no regard for strategy.
Fool, he was thinking. I've always beaten you at chess.
I've beaten you at every game.

That night she slept dreaming of carefree chess pieces
And old English landscapes with sweet musty gardens,
While he, with his king piece, his most important piece,
Tried to penetrate her dreams.

But. Check.
He'd have to move. Or rearrange.
Or this time,
He'd lose.

Isabel Hartman

Re: Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: RJAllen (
Date: January 14, 2005 07:55AM

Wendy Cope has some...interesting... opinions of men in her books

Re: Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (
Date: January 14, 2005 10:33AM

I require three things in a man. He must be handsome, ruthless and stupid.
Dorothy Parker

Re: Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: Hugh Clary (
Date: January 14, 2005 12:06PM

Wendy Cope has some ...

Poem Composed in Santa Barbara

The poets talk. They talk a lot.
They talk of T. S. Eliot.
One is anti. One is pro.
How hard they think! How much they know!
They're happy. A cicada sings.
We women talk of other things.

I feel sure everyone who reads this phorum will get her Prufrock reference.

Re: Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: Pam Adams (
Date: January 14, 2005 01:44PM

It's very Seussian in rhythm.


Re: Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: rikki (
Date: January 14, 2005 10:23PM

Why I Like Men

mainly i like men because they're different
they're the opposite sex
no matter how much you pretend they're ordinary
human beings you don't really believe it

they have a whole different language and geography
so they're almost as good
as a trip overseas when life gets dull
and you start looking for a thrill

next i like men because they're all so different
one from the other
and unpredictable so you can never really know
what will happen from
looks alone

like anyone else i have my own taste with regard
to size and shape and colour
but the kind of style that has nothing to do
with money can make you bet
on an outsider

lastly i guess i like men because they are the other
half of the human race
and you've got to start somewhere
learning to live and let live
with strangers

maybe it's because if you can leave your options open
ready to consider love
with such an out and out foreigner
it makes other people seem
so much easier

Edith Speers

Re: Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: IanB (
Date: January 15, 2005 05:48AM

Dorothy Parker had some other zingers. There's this one that you posted in another thread not so long ago, Les.

'Chant for Dark Hours'
by Dorothy Parker

Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
Book shop.
(Lady, make your mind up, and wait your life away.)

Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
Crap game.
(He said he'd come at moonrise, and here's another day!)

Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
(Wait about, and hang about, and that's the way it goes.)

Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
(Heaven never send me another one of those!)

Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
Golf course.
(Read a book, and sew a seam, and slumber if you can.)

Some men, some men
Cannot pass a
(All your life you wait around for some damn man!)

Re: Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: lg (
Date: January 15, 2005 12:51PM

Here's another Parker:

Ballade Of A Talked-Off Ear
---Dorothy Parker

Daily I listen to wonder and woe,
Nightly I hearken to knave or to ace,
Telling me stories of lava and snow,
Delicate fables of ribbon and lace,
Tales of the quarry, the kill, the chase,
Longer than heaven and duller than hell-
Never you blame me, who cry my case:
"Poets alone should kiss and tell!"

Dumbly I hear what I never should know,
Gently I counsel of pride and of grace;
Into minutiae gayly they go,
Telling the name and the time and the place.
Cede them your silence and grant them space-
Who tenders an inch shall be raped of an ell!
Sympathy's ever the boaster's brace;
Poets alone should kiss and tell.

Why am I tithed what I never did owe?
Choked with vicarious saffron and mace?
Weary my lids, and my fingers are slow-
Gentlemen, damn you, you've halted my pace.
Only the lads of the cursed race,
Only the knights of the desolate spell,
May point me the lines the blood-drops trace-
Poets alone should kiss and tell.


Prince or commoner, tenor or bass,
Painter or plumber or never-do-well,
Do me a favor and shut your face
Poets alone should kiss and tell.


Re: Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: lg (
Date: January 15, 2005 02:50PM

The Rival
---Sylvia Plath

If the moon smiled, she would resemble you.
You leave the same impression
Of something beautiful, but annihilating.
Both of you are great light borrowers.
Her O-mouth grieves at the world; yours is unaffected,

And your first gift is making stone out of everything.
I wake to a mausoleum; you are here,
Ticking your fingers on the marble table, looking for cigarettes,
Spiteful as a woman, but not so nervous,
And dying to say something unanswerable.

The moon, too, abuses her subjects,
But in the daytime she is ridiculous.
Your dissatisfactions, on the other hand,
Arrive through the mailslot with loving regularity,
White and blank, expansive as carbon monoxide.

No day is safe from news of you,
Walking about in Africa maybe, but thinking of me.


Re: Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: lg (
Date: January 15, 2005 03:13PM

The Independent Man
----Gwendolyn Brooks

Now who could take you off to tiny life
In one room or in two rooms or in three
And cork you smartly, like the flask of wine
You are? Not any woman. Not a wife.
You'd let her twirl you, give her a good glee
Showing your leaping ruby to a friend.
Though twirling would be meek. Since not a cork
Could you allow, for being made so free.

A woman would be wise to think it well
If once a week you only rang the bell.


Re: Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: lg (
Date: January 15, 2005 03:28PM

Fix-it Man
by Lisa Beatman

No more Harvard men for me.
I'm looking for a man who's good with his hands,
Swiftian repartee only goes so far,
like good pate, it remains in the parlor.

I'm ready for a man who's good with his hands,
whispered molecular theories do not jiggle my electrons,
and astrophysics over dinner does not
blast me off into space.

No, I'm looking for a man who's good with his hands,
Aristotelian logic lacks spittle,
I'm looking for a man who's not afraid
to lubricate a little, or a lot, and who knows
just how much, and how deep to go.

Yes, I'm ready for a man who's good with his hands,
a man who reads with the tips of his fingers,
toolbag slung low on his hips, who knows
his way around complicated circuitry,
and unflagging, can turn anything on.

I'm looking for a fix-it man,
fresh-smelling of sweat, not library dust,
a man with a blueprint, a man you can trust
with your plugs and your plumbing,
your heart and your head,
and as Grandma once said,
he can park his work boots,
anytime, under my bed.


Re: Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: lg (
Date: January 16, 2005 02:21AM

---Dorothy Parker

Some men break your heart in two,
Some men fawn and flatter,
Some men never look at you;
And that cleans up the matter.


Re: Women Poets / Views on Men
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (
Date: January 16, 2005 09:24AM


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