It was a whim that drove me yesterday to begin searching for love poetry written by women authors, or at the very least from a female perspective. Although this has been up and coming for a long time – ever since I immersed myself properly in Pablo Neruda’s work, and found that poem after lovely, dark, sensual poem described women, only women. It didn’t really change the appeal of his work for me – the man is a genius when it comes to describing sensual love, and besides, many of his best poems have a neutral-gender perspective – but I still felt as though I would be so much happier if I found one poem – just a single one – with the male form described, with a female enchanted writing the poetry.
Yesterday, this feeling of incompleteness came to light once again when I stumbled across Keats’ poem, Bright Star:
“Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art–
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night …
No–yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest…”
Breasts! What is it with men and breasts. And the annoying thing about them is that references to silky smooth skin, or curves, or gently flowing hair, you can squint at those and sort of apply them to men too, but when it comes to breasts the individual being described is OBVIOUSLY and OVERTLY female.
Even Oscar Wilde, whom I thought was gay, fills his love poetry with references to blonde hair and delicate hands and breasts, breasts, breasts.
Even when its not breasts, poetry written by men is just obviously written by men. Observe this lovely little verse in Valentine by John Fuller. It starts off neutral and then veers into women references again.
I’d like you even if you were malign
And had a yen for sudden homicide.
I’d let you put insecticide into my wine.
I’d even like you if you were the Bride of Frankenstein
Or something ghoulish out of Mamoulian’s Jekyll and Hyde.
The poem is absolutely fantastic, sexy and funny at the same time, and I cannot blame a man writing a poem for referring to his love as female. But what I can be upset about is the dearth of female-perspective poetry in general. There is just not enough out there, and what there is usually describes love in general terms, even sexual love. And there is just not enough about male bodies! The female form has been sexualised beyond anything, but the male form, which in my opinion is so amazingly gorgeous too – that just doesn’t have enough devotion heaped on it. And that is annoying to me.
I mean, there’s the following by Dickinson, that is slightly sensual if you have a vivid imagination:
Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!Futile the winds
To a heart in port,
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!
I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
I woke up this morning thinking erotic thoughts
I want you to penetrate my mind
Slowly, deeply, rhythmically
To enter my deepest thoughts
To explore the contours of my soul
Diving into ecstatic reaction
Wildly emotional, both of us
We consume each other
Tenderly retreating, only to renew our spiritual communion
Again and again, rhythmically,
Deeply, souls in connection
It’s numbing when I see my words wash over your wounds. Your feelings made of flesh hiss at the sweet balm of diction. You push my hair away when I’m looking down into the empty palms of our future. You sit behind me, so we’re looking in the same direction but not at the same things. You push my hair away, you kiss my wingspan- my heart takes flight.
She also found me two pieces by Victorian poets, my favourite of which was by Alice Meynell
“I lie amongst you, and I kiss
Your fragrance mouldering.
O dead delights, is it such bliss,
That tuneful Spring?
Is love so sweet, that comes to this?
Kiss me again as I kiss you;
Kiss me again,
For all your tuneful nights of dew,
In this your time of rain,
For all your kisses when Spring was new
So all in all, not a bad haul for a day of intense searching. My hunger’s still unquenched though. There is just not enough poetry out there about men, from a female perspective or at least, I have yet to discover it. So I’m going to continue looking. And in the meantime, maybe create some of my own? We’ll just have to wait and see.
I am ending with a lovely piece I found some time ago. It has a special significance that I am unable to explain at the moment. Suffice it to say that I feel this is something I could write, and that I feel applies to the male form, and that I love it.
See you guys soon.