Blindfold Art

I leaned me forward to find her lips,
And claim her utterly in a kiss

– D.H. Lawrence, from Lightning

IMG_1030After renewing my copy of Everybody’s Plutarch, one, possibly two, times more than the officially allowable amount, I reluctantly returned it. I thought I’d be tricky by getting another copy at a different library. Instead, I ended up with the book,  An Uninhibited Treasury of Erotic Poetry. I know, I love the title too.

Catullus, you’re a fool. I said,
What’s lost is lost, what’s dead is dead.
The game is over, that you know;
So let the little strumpet go.

Catullus, from Catullus Talks to Himself

I wasn’t even going to be picky, I know there are many editions of Noble Lives,  but just you try to search for a single book in a library that is many stories tall with all the ordinances accounted for. Let me save you some trouble by saying, it ain’t easy. First stop: the computer catalogue. I came away from that aspect ratio of small proportion’ s labyrinth with a piece of paper on which I had scrawled as many call numbers as I could fit. Next: pitstop at the circulation desk to pick up a copy of the floorplan. Third stop: level A, west wing.

In the secrets of your flesh
I make myself words
to be read by you alone

– Eve Merriam, from The Moment Before Conception

A partial but useless success- Plutarch in Latin. But why dwell on thoughts that serve as cruel metaphors for life? Moving on: level three, north wing, where I find a trove of books about Plutarch. Down a level: no luck at all. Back up a couple levels: berating myself for not organizing my list geographically,  looking for the 900 section, wait, no- the 800s, focus, Jessica!…disoriented, the low lights and lack of humans among the rows of books are so comforting as to begin to disconcert me. I put my bag on the floor and crouch down, sitting upon my heels for a moment’s respite.

Love Poem

Oh, your thighs
are numbered:

Two

But they are
as poles of the earth

And all
that there is

Is

Between them

-Judson Crews

Up a level, down, south, was it west? …my memory fades…A Modern Plutarch sits on the shelf. In fact it now sits on the desk next to me. But a comparison of, for example,  Mark Twain and Anatole French, while a good idea, was neither well executed nor the thing I was after.

Teach me, only teach, Love!
As I ought
I will speak thy speech, Love
Think thy thought-

– Robert Browning, from A Woman’s Last Word

Next to A Modern Plutarch, sat An Uninhibited Treasury of Erotic Poetry, which I did not attempt to resist. I opened to a random page – two lines that I know well. I don’t need much more encouragement than that.

Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove

Marlowe, The Passionate Shepard to His Love. I read an article once regarding pronunciation which suggested that “love” would have rhymed, back then, with “prove.” Love and prove, I find much pleasure in making the words sound alike in various combinations in my head (I think the article describe how it had been pronounced and rhymed, but I can’t recall).  Later in the poem “love” is rhymed with “move,” consequently I now relish saying Louvre whenever I see the word love. Love, prove….There is something that pulls those words to each other, love: tested, withstood, evidenced. They seem to belong together.

* Title from Lawrence’s Lightning-
“Repeating with tightened arms, and the hot blood’s
blindfold art.”

** The Uninhibited Treasury of Erotic Poetry (“edited and with a running commentary by”) Louis Untermeyer. He makes clear in his introduction that by “erotic,” a more classic sense, by way of Eros (love), is meant.

Back to Plutarch- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

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9 responses to “Blindfold Art

  1. It’s not about where you go, it’s about the journey. Maybe if you go looking for something else you will find the right copy of Plutarch. Good luck!

  2. Isn’t life great?!

  3. Pingback: An Accord Sown | so very very

  4. Uh, the reason you’re not finding Plutarch in the origibnal Latin is that he wrote in Greek.

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