The Anti-Love


How terrible to fall in love!
How like sickness it takes us!
First in the stomach it may grow
—a germinating weakness—
only to spread into our limbs,
a certain limpness lending,
and dread, as well taking the tongue;
no hope to find in that end.
Think you winged Eros I accuse?
His darts can little hurt me,
nor doth my wrath involve storge
from whom I’ve known much kindness;
I cannot speak against the four,
and little claim the others
as really having ever known.
I speak of something different.
I love a thing I cannot hope
reciprocates my fire.
It is a place. It is a thought.
How can I draw it here with
my meager, blunt, dumb metrical
attempts? As good if ‘twere mute.

The thing is a passion in me,
and so I say it is love.
I’m fevered at the thought of it;
I tremble and quake and groan.
My only thought is how can I
express to the world this love.
I will infect those whom I can;
I will spread this foul disease.
O you embrace, readers, embrace,
if I may be a vector,
this potent, overriding thing,
and join in this state of woe.


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