Now, let us go to contemplate a hill
where flowers spit their seeds, content to show
unbridled bits to daybreak's ardent glow,
like tumblers hurled up at one boy's will
to make the skies go dark, and rooftops still:
a burst of liberated doves who know
that boys stay stuck, while they are free to go;
yet doves return to sip a pigeon's swill.
Night swiftly prods her new Moon to retire
and drops a purled curtain as I think
of how we might promote Dawn's primrose fire
to draw your passion out and to the brink
and there, with pink unfurled, probe your desire.
Yet you demur; and so, like doves, we sink.
We have, by dint of one dumb abacus
found too few days to let them pass in haste.
So, let us not stay numerate and chaste,
but stray to calculate the scandalous.
If, from the firmament enfolding us,
I snatch a string of stars to gird your waist -
should burgled skies demand they be replaced,
we'll send a score in care of Calculus.
But let us in the meantime mount that hill
and ride your stars like comets out of hell
from dawn till dusk and only then repair
to ask aloud how we might yet fulfill
our task if we have merely stars to sell
when we at last have pluck enough to dare.
First, feast your eyes upon our paradise:
how on that hill, sure-footed antelope
now take two lovers' hearts to climb a slope
to where one word from Prudence would suffice
to stop a quick elopement - lust's device;
but too, to show how Cupid splits his scope
(while taking aim at one slim thing called hope)
that he might seal our vows not once, but twice!
And then we'll finally strip that robe that hides
and chides your flesh to keep itself discreet,
remote, and from my own quite separate -
till I, with dawn, which o'er the hilltop rides,
may slip upon you like a silken sheet
and put to rest what keeps us temperate.
Now Old Man Sun awakes and climbs our hill
to prod from Dawn a daughter's faster pace
lest through equivocation, we lose place
and have to settle for a lesser thrill -
which lets me ask what love will drive you still
when ice-bound nights squelch rumors to give chase
to lovers' lyres and summer's last embrace
since with my case denied, I sense a chill.
Real love for you works best by standing toe
to toe with neighbors at a crusty fence
as snow begins to melt and tum to mud;
My lust would resurrect its frenzied flow
and with one hit annihilate suspense,
thus making straight the way for love to bud.
Dawn hikes up on her heels - though barely born -
and sends all sullen glowworms home to bed
rebuking what their gluttony has fed.
About to leave, Night-mother looks with scorn
upon this child of Sun and lover Mom -
this bastard kid, who has with antics bled
fat fireflies of light and left instead
Night bald, and of her stars, completely shorn.
Then even Sun remarks your odd restraint
and sends the Moon a remonstrating frown,
which she reflects with patient, lunar grace
while Sun and Moon, together, file complaint,
demand from parting clouds a stolen crown,
and in the end, retrieve their rightful place.
@ 2005-Bittner, Russell
Original version published at AlongStoryShort.net (Sept.,'05); then at Plum Biscuit- a Journal of the New York Writers' Coalition (Dec., ' 05); then in The Taj Mahal Review, International Literary Journal (#8, Dec.,'05).