Tuesday, December 05, 2006

advice to a discarded lover

This is a poem we studied in my New Zealand Literature class this morning. I thought it was rather cool and that I should share it. It's by Fleur Adcock.

Advice to a Discarded Lover

Think, now: if you have found a dead bird,
Not only dead, not only fallen,
But full of maggots: what do you feel -
More pity or more revulsion?

Pity is for the moment of death,
And the moments after. It changes
When decay comes, with the creeping stench
And the wriggling, munching scavengers.

Returning later, though, you will see
A shape of clean bone, a few feathers,
An inoffensive symbol of what
Once lived. Nothing to make you shudder.

It is clear, then. But perhaps you find
The analogy I have chosen
For our dead affair rather gruesome -
Too unpleasant a comparison.

It is not accidental. In you
I see maggots close to the surface.
You are eaten up by self-pity,
Crawling with unlovable pathos.

If I were to touch you I should feel
Against my fingers fat, moist worm-skin.
Do not ask me for charity now:
Go away until your bones are clean.


slskenyon said...

Wow--that's quite an image, but I always like to read things that put everyday occurences into new light. I never thought to make that analogy before, but I do like it.

Anonymous said...

It is sort of a gruesome analogy, but I still like it. Never thought of it that way before.

ellesappelle said...

I love how she pulls back from the gruesomeness and seems for a moment like she will be kinder, in the fourth stanza... and then wham! she hits him again with "it is not accidental" :)

Anonymous said...

I like this quite a lot! It makes me wish I had an ex-boyfriend, just so I could send this to him. Very vivid imagery. And...just plain creepy.

Anonymous said...

i love the conviction and anger you can feel when you read this poem. especially in the last stanzer