What He Learned From Her
He could not bring himself to take his pleasure
from her, yet he learned that the body is the body,
shrine or temple of the spirit it may or may not be.
But nipples can have hair about them, so do chins,
upper lips; her eager mouth may savour of ground
beef or the cheese salami sandwich she just ate, or
just tea and coffee—not to a strict vegetarian’s taste.
Body odours, stale sweat, morning breath, even more
pungent womens’ smells—these he must learn to accept.
The responsibility of love is such humility that he gives,
relishing the other’s inclination, indulging her even unto
a gasping joyance with the detachment of an artist: he
didn’t know he could do all this, did he? Like a wife
enjoying the leftovers from her husband’s plate.
This is also a way of making love:
to give, but not take pleasure.
This is also a way of being a man:
to satisfy himself only in satisfying her.
Women loved him, craved for his company—
he’s such a charmer they said, look at his
soulful and tranquil eyes. But in the midst
of all this, how lonely he was, crying as if
for lost mothers or beloveds, condemned to a pain
so luminous: a wife unhappy, untouched on one side
and lovers abundant on the other.
|Copyright © 2005 - Makarand Paranjape|