Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Little Less Pleasing

Painting by Phyllis Serota

A Little Less Pleasing

Hell is just a little different
from the world. A little less rational.
A little less pleasing. Women
gathering wash. Still moving
in the usual way, making the same
gestures. Dark birds pecking
and gouging are behaving in the
usual way--only this time
the people keep on screaming.
Heaven is the same.
Fields without blame,
a single season. The same wheat
and flowers. The same sweet air
we breathe each spring day.
And yet Eurydice stayed inside
herself, passive. Almost indifferent
to where she lived. Relinquishing
her power as energy, her beauty
which worked well with her parents
and a new husband, and served her
well being taken by this man.
Then that man. That world.
Then the walk with the guide
whose name she was never told.
Or did not remember.
To see vaguely the back of a man
walking twice as fast as she was
going while she was being led
on a path upwards. All arguements
happened in the large room
while she was sequestered in
one of the smaller rooms
off a long hall, with a single bed
and a stuffed doll.
Like the rooms of the whores
I saw in Surabaya.
The girls holding my hands, smiling,
giving me a chair to sit with them
in the window.

Linda Gregg

from "All of it Singing".

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