My concubine can sleep with the swine.
My daughter can sleep with the elves.
My sister shall sleep in a burlap sack,
With the other there on the shelves.
We were hooked when we woke,
We had arms for each other.
But I yearned to resume
My dreams of another.
Damn thy light
O, quiet night
Took happy bird away from flight
Gave undressed child a bed of fright;
While I remained in candlelight
With this naked girl of the season.
The season was waning fast
Our nights were growing cold at last
I took her to bed with silk and song,
“Lay still, my love, I won’t be long…
I must prepare my body for passion.”
“O, your body you give, but all else you ration.”
“It is because of these dreams of a sylvan scene…
A bleeding nymph to leave me serene…
I have dreams of a trembling wench.”
“You have dreams,” she said, “that cannot be quenched.”
“Our passion,” said I, “should never be feared…
As our longing for love can never be cured…
Our want is our way and our way is our will…
We have the love, my love, that no one can kill.”
“If night is your love, then in dreams you’ll fulfil…
This love, our love, that no one can kill.”
Yet want is my way, and my way is my will,
Thus I killed my love with a sleeping pill.
Author’s Note: “The first part of this poem I wrote in New York City in 1999. The second part, beginning with ‘Damn thy night,’ I wrote in Paris in 2006.”