NYMPH AND SHEPHERD
~ by Donald Hall
She died a dozen times before I died,
And kept on trying, nymph of fatality.
I could not die but once although I tried.
I envied her. She whooped, she laughed, she cried
As she contrived each fresh mortality,
Numberless lethal times before I died.
I plunged, I plugged, I twisted, and I sighed
While she achieved death’s Paradise routinely.
I lagged however zealously I tried.
She writhed, she bucked, she rested, and, astride,
She posted, cantering on top of me
At least a hundred miles until I died.
I’d never blame you if you thought I lied
About her deadly prodigality.
She died a dozen times before I died
Who could not die so frequently. I tried.
The multi-orgasmic capacity of a woman in ecstasy is seen as a series of “petit morts,” or little deaths, by her astonished and admiring lover. A brilliant use of the villanelle form.