had taken her hand
he tried with the other
each one pulling and stretching
as if it were a contest
wherein the constancy of wills
were being assayed.
In the end
he had to give up
and get on
with the business of living:
You can’t write songs
while dragging along a line,
or play a harp
with one hand otherwise engaged.
He watched, half sad,
as his imagination lost touch
with a figure and features
that he had thought
were indelible: as permanently ensconced
as a line of poetry
learned at adolescence. And for once
the walls of his house
were bare of both homage and passion.
Of necessity he peopled them with fancy,
wrung light melodies, hemi-demi
truths from his lyre, curtained
his window to the outside world
with words that rhymed, and that he thought had rhythm.
In the end
he veiled the bitter taste of that memory’s entanglement
with persiflage and self-aggrandizement;
he sealed his chambers,
set his alarms for maximum isolation,
and sang seasonal songs
that denigrated feeling.
As we all know, his punishment
was not long in coming.