Friday, November 6, 2015

Once, Once

At one time some people believed 
that the elephants
had sex but once:

No wonder such a memory!

Once, I thought love was measured

in some mean distance of imaginary numbers

from whole digits to infinity squared.

One perfect combination. (The tumblers

turn and twist.) My sandpapered fingers

bared to the wrist. But secrets hide

            in the between.

Once, love was obvious as the ebb and

flow of ocean is to charts and sailors.

(But sea, O sea – you scene of unseen

sights – you graveyard of mariners –

a gale, a new leak, or a sleeping watch,

and your white wave just swallowed me like bread


Does a lemming really embrace the sea                                                                                       

with a lover’s greed?

To know the sea, roughly

one taste’s enough.

                                    But what about love?

-- Duane Vorhees


  1. I knew this wa a Duane Vorhees poem within the first three lines. Wonderful voice! This is one of my favorites

  2. Thanks, SeoulDave. I appreciate the thought. I hope interested readers can spot the varied rhyming patterns I employed to try to give the piece some poetic unity without resounding in their heads like the Anvil Chorus!

    (I'm sure other contributors would enjoy some evidence of readers' appreciation, or other comments or queries about their work as well. But I guess I'm editorializing here, and the remark certainly does not apply to you, Dave, who have always been generous with your responses,)

  3. Enjoyed thoroughly your poem Duane. Read it a few times and each time got better

  4. Thank you, Amitabh. Whether we are speaking specifically of my work or not, I think it is always the case that good poems and good music and good paintings etc get better with repeated doses. They seem to grow as they settle inside the skin. That's what separates good ones from okay ones.


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