Man And Wife

Tamed by Miltown, we lie on Mother's bed;
the rising sun in war paint dyes us red;
in broad daylight her gilded bed-posts shine,
abandoned, almost Dionysian.
At last the trees are green on Marlborough Street,
blossoms on our magnolia ignite
the morning with their murderous five day's white.
All night I've held your hand,
as if you had
a fourth time faced the kingdom of the mad -
its hackneyed speech, its homicidal eye -
and dragged me home alive. . . . Oh my Petite,
clearest of all God's creatures, still all air and nerve:
you were in your twenties, and I,
once hand on glass
and heart in mouth,
outdrank the Rahvs in the heat
of Greenwich Village, fainting at your feet -
too boiled and shy
and poker-faced to make a pass,
while the shrill verve
of your invective scorched the traditional South.

Now twelve years later, you turn your back.
Sleepless, you hold
your pillow to your hollows like a child,
your old-fashioned tirade -
loving, rapid, merciless -
breaks like the Atlantic Ocean on my head.

by Robert Lowell

Comments (6)

Very alive in its descriptives whether they be gorgeous visuals or silken criticisms. It has more realism than most love poems that is for sure. Love these closing lines- -your old-fashioned tirade - loving, rapid, merciless - breaks like the Atlantic Ocean on my head.
Such a great write by Robert Lowell👍👍👍
'Tamed by Miltown, we lie on Mother's bed; the rising sun in war paint dyes us red; nice start to the poem. A nice poem. Enjoyed.
For those of us who like to use rhyme, this is another good example. Lowell’s rhymes flow naturally, seem accidental, which he achieves largely through varying line length. I can’t say why, but I most like the description in the last two lines of the first stanza, though they’re not alone for their freshness. GK
Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal
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