Poem Hunter
Maiden Market
(03 April 1964 / Johannesburg, South Africa)

Maiden Market

Poem By Gert Strydom

(in answer to Christina Rossetti)

Day and night, from early to late
where they were plying an age-old trade
men heard the maidens cry:
"do not a mere moment wait.
Come play with us, come play and buy,
come play and buy the time of your life,
only tonight I will be your darling, your wife, "
and they were very lovely on the eye
where they did promise moments of bliss,
threw lovely kiss after lovely kiss
promised endless pleasure
and they were charming in the way that life is.

Early in the morning and night after night
they promised moments of delight
when Garry and Paul
kept just out of sight
where they were on their way to and from work
and some were slender and other small
some were curved and others tall,
some had billboards up at traffic lights
some walked enticing in the shopping mall,
some were in seedy magazines, promised to blow you away,
and they constantly repeated: "Come play with us, come play"
they said they had legs all the way to heaven
promised ultimate fleshy satisfaction during the night and day.
They wondered if meeting one of them would be an unpardonable sin
and in Garry's imagination experiences with them did begin.
Paul shook his head while early and late they were only looking
but his warning sounded hollow: "decease and death could be entered in."

Paul and Garry had been friends from childhood,
they looked out for each other minding the others good
and they both were young, handsome, wealthy and unmarried
in the way of friendship much thicker than blood.
On a afternoon coming early from work on his own
Garry phoned a maiden whose exploits was renown,
she did invite him to her home, a big sunny mansion,
where she waited upon him in a very enticing gown.
Between them there was a kind of magic electricity
and their illicit fun seemed to be
the very thing for which life is made
and from commitment they were both free.
Paul met him later at his own house
were full of concerned upbraidings:
about STD's and such kind of things
but Garry told him straight about the encounter
and seemed full of satisfaction and joyful tidings:

It seemed so adult, full of fun and romance,
they even did for long moment with each other dance,
like a girlfriend there was a line of clothes to her curtained bed
and now she was more than just an acquaintance
while very little between them was said.
Garry just saw times of delight lying ahead
even did convince Paul to try the same kind of thing
and nobody could talk any sense into his head.

They both visited girl after girl,
on and on life with fun did whirl
until the precautions on a day were in vain
and destiny came down on Paul with a thundering swirl.
He was arrested for participating in a crime
in the police lockup-cell did feel begrime
without knowing it then
had contracted herpes and AIDS at the same time.
His life did suddenly feel lethargic,
while he did pine away and tragic
he suffered for a long time
while Garry did act apathetic,
did continue with his life
without a day of guilt or strife,
kept visiting the maidens
without truly knowing the love of a wife.

[Reference: "Goblin Market" by Christina Rossetti.]

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