Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FROM THE BOOK OF EXTENUATIONS, by EDMUND VANCE COOKE



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FROM THE BOOK OF EXTENUATIONS, by            
First Line: Poor boaz thinks that he arranged that parley
Last Line: One passion lasts -- the deathless lust of song.
Subject(s): David (d. 962 B.c.); Ruth (bible); Women In The Bible


RUTH

Poor Boaz thinks that he arranged that parley
Which first we held among the fields of barley,
When all my humble words had hidden meaning
And his the fullest beard of all my gleaning.
He thinks I did him honor when I crept
And snuggled at his feet the while he slept,
And when he woke, without a hint of sin,
I claimed protection as his near of kin.

And so next day, as I had hoped he'd do,
He claimed me as his own and passed his shoe.
Dear Boaz! he's a man and so, in sooth,
A twisted finger-ring for little Ruth.

So I remind him often how he harried me,
Pursued and worried me, till off he carried me
And, spite of my disclaimings, kissed and married me,
And swears that womankind is most unfortunate
Hedged in a world beset by men importunate!
For, as Naomi says (and nothing's truer),
Pursued man loves to think himself pursuer.

DAVID
I have been drunk of life's commingled wines,
Of lilied loves and rose-red concubines.
I have known battle and the white-hot charm
Of holding death at bay with this right arm.
I have known pomp and purpled pride and cries
Of clamorous applause against the skies.

I have been overwrought and overjoyed,
I have been sated, surfeited, and cloyed.
In my own life I've lived so many lives
Its flames are cinders, yet one spark survives.
Gold, glory, greed! I loved you not for long;
Wine, women, war! seductive, but not strong;
One passion lasts -- the deathless lust of Song.





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