An artist's farewell to his mistress
Anthony M. Ludovici
The New Age 29, 1921, p. 144
Reprinted in What Woman Wishes, p. 288
Good-bye! Your mind that was my mind's delight,
So nimble was it, and so quick to seize;
So happy at each slender ray of light
That came from mine knew grandly how to please.
But latterly that very mind I've seen
As crippling to my best creative strength.
I think of all the things I might have done,
And what in fact I have become at length.
Your mouth at meeting was a paradise,
At parting, too, I would not be denied,
But loitered, as the sun in summer skies
Hangs close to earth at dawn and eventide.
But now those lips which once I ached to kiss
Are like a shambles rouged by my own gore,
And to my muse a murderous abyss,
Enticing her each moment more and more.
Your arms about my neck were once my pride,
The more they clung the better pleased was I.
I had no thoughts except about my bride
And did she spurn me, I but hoped to die.
But now those soft white arms appear to me
Like pallid serpents stretching from a tomb
And lashing out to catch and pull at me
To bury me before my time has come.
So now good-bye, and let it be farewell!
No grudge or anger I but wish to do
The things I'm made for, and to do them well.
Forget! I do not ask you to be true.
Forget, as I'll forget, and, if you can,
Forgive, as I'll forgive, before we part,
The tender sneer with which you thought your man
Was fashioned more for Love-feats than for Art.