Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THINKING OF SAINTS AND OF PETRONIUS ARBITHE, by MARY BUTTS (1890-1937)



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THINKING OF SAINTS AND OF PETRONIUS ARBITHE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Between a toy and a crucifix
Last Line: Any people but these.
Subject(s): Love - Nature Of


Between a toy and a crucifix
Between a joke and a prayer
Lies the Bird-catcher
Who caught the peacock of the world;
The poet the saint the gentleman and the wit
Making these titles tolerable again.

Between a cigarette and a cocktail
Between a spite and a fear
Round a bar
Runs a little boy afraid of his whipped shadow
Tender about his fear.

Between the cocktail and the crucifix
Between the prayer and the fear
Lies the sword.

Between the toy and the cigarette
Between the spite and the joke
Lies the imagination.

Between the bird and the bar is the choice of consolation
Tastes of the gentleman and the garcon de promenoir.

Between the tapette and the poet
Between the prayer and the fear
There is time for thought:

Between the joy-boy and the gentleman
Between the bed and the bar
There is room to move about,

Between the poet and the tapette
Between the grace and the disgrace
There is no choice.

Between the sleeping squirrel in the wood
And the night rat
Lies the shadow, the identity,

(Not because one knelt
By the bed, And the hands
Of the other were wet
With tears shaken out of a young body
Told not to be afraid to learn to play.)

In the shadow the identity lies.

One is the explanation: the Illumination
Of the darkness
Of the other.

Because love is
Because of what love is
love is vision, in extremes
(We who know what love is)
And it is not possible to love
Any people but these.





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