As a writer who still feels a little unsure about writing poetry, I was pleased to be invited on Saturday April 21st by the poet and playwright Kevin Fegan to join him and Henry Normal for Henry’s Poetry Hour, where I got to read the poem (below). This is from my small book of verse which came out last week, POCKET LOVE, which is a 6” x 4” pocket sized tome containing 34 verses on the subject of love, passion, lust and longing. Naturally, being less than confident as a poet has always meant that I’ve avoided submitting any collections to a bona fide publisher. The prospect of dismissive ridicule looms large. But what the hell! I read this poem and the crowd seemed to enjoy it. Onwards and sideways!
Never appreciated Byron,
No comprehension of Neruda,
My clumsiness had one effect;
It made my craving cruder
I remained unsure of Shelley,
Perplexed with Dylan Thomas
Shakespeare I almost understood
His verse offered promise
I felt, as all young lovers,
That I deserved a ration,
A brief insight to all these names
To supplement my passion
Yet the chains of youthful ignorance
Were bound tight around my soul
So I expressed my love for you
With lines from rock’n’roll.
So just like Jackie Wilson,
You became my Reet Petite,
I raved on like Buddy Holly
My heart Chuck Berry’s beat
Little Richard joined Gene Vincent
With Elvis in the lead
Thus Hound Dog, Bebopalula
Satisfied romantic needs.
But that was many moons ago
Before I understood the truth
Behind the passion of great poets,
The conundrum of my youth
With age comes understanding
The years bring clarity
So I thank you Shelley, Dylan Thomas,
For what you gave to me, and
To Neruda and Will Shakespeare
All pouring passion from your hearts
Now this aficionado understands,
Although he didn’t at the start
Yet in my young pursuit of passion,
I still satisfied my soul,
If great poetry is perplexing,
There’s always rock’n’roll.
And regarding passion and lust, I saw this from the website This Day in History,- a little gem:
April 22 1886 Seduction is made illegal
Ohio passes a statute that makes seduction unlawful. Covering all men over the age of 18 who worked as teachers or instructors of women, this law even prohibited men from having consensual sex with women (of any age) whom they were instructing. The penalty for disobeying this law ranged from two to 10 years in prison.
Ohio’s seduction law was not the first of its kind. A Virginia law made it illegal for a man to have an “illicit connexion (sic) with any unmarried female of previous chaste character” if the man did so by promising to marry the girl. An 1848 New York law made it illegal to “under promise of marriage seduce any unmarried female of previous chaste character.” Georgia’s version of the seduction statute made it unlawful for men to “seduce a virtuous unmarried female and induce her to yield to his lustful embraces, and allow him to have carnal knowledge of her.”
These laws were only sporadically enforced, but a few men were actually prosecuted and convicted. In Michigan, a man was convicted of three counts of seduction, but the appeals court did everything in its power to overturn the decision. It threw out two charges because the defense reasoned that the woman was no longer virtuous after the couple’s first encounter. The other charge was overturned after the defense claimed that the woman’s testimony–that they had had sex in a buggy–was medically impossible.
On some occasions, women used these laws in order to coerce men into marriage. A New York man in the middle of an 1867 trial that was headed toward conviction proposed to the alleged victim. The local minister was summoned, and the trial instantly became a marriage ceremony.