~ by Fleur Adcock
I write in praise of the solitary act:
of not feeling a trespassing tongue
forced into one’s mouth, one’s breath
smothered, nipples crushed against the
ribcage, and that metallic tingling
in the chin set off by a certain odd nerve:
unpleasure. Just to avoid those eyes would help —
such eyes as a young girl draws life from,
listening to the vegetal
rustle within her, as his gaze
stirs polypal fronds in the obscure
seabed of her body, and her own eyes blur.
There is much to be said for abandoning
this no longer novel exercise —
for not “participating in
a total experience” — when
one feels like the lady in Leeds
who had seen The Sound Of Music eighty-six times;
or more, perhaps, like the school drama mistress
producing A Midsummer Night’s Dream
for the seventh year running, with
yet another cast from 5B.
Pyramus and Thisbe are dead, but
the hole in the wall can still be troublesome.
I advise you, then, to embrace it without
encumbrance. No need to set the scene,
dress up (or undress), make speeches.
Five minutes of solitude are
enough — in the bath, or to fill
that gap between the Sunday papers and lunch.