Monday, May 04, 2009
The Poetry of C.E. Chaffin
Today I'm doing something unusual for me, and taking part in the virtual book tour of an amazing poet who introduced me to his work recently. I was just so happy to be able to share with my readers the lovely poetry of C. E. Chaffin.
Craig recently published his book, Unexpected Light, and is spreading the word around the Web. I asked Craig to tell me how he feels about writing romantic poetry, and here was his eloquent reply:
"Love poetry is exceedingly difficult to write, in my opinion, as it is a subject as old as poetry, possibly even the first subject. Thus when putting pen to paper a poet must be conscious of the great tradition, from Sappho to Dante to Donne to Shakespeare and onward. Clichés are hard to avoid; without a historical consciousness of love poetry, culled from much reading, the poet may just end up repeating ideas and language already dedicated to the tradition of love.
"My own poems are inspired by my true love of ten years, Kathleen McGovern Chaffin. Since we met, despite all the challenges of our mutual disabilities--(she is deaf and suffers from depression; I'm a manic-depressive also under treatment for chronic pain)--love has truly triumphed over all. Every morning when I wake and see her dear face sleeping I am filled again with wonder at the miracle of human love. It transforms and feeds, it supports and encourages, and as the Apostle Paul wrote, "Love never faileth." Indeed.
"True love is a miracle that inspires even non-poets to poetry. It is up to poets to make others feel the feeling and have the experience in a more universal literary sense. My approach is varied, but nearly all my poems address the loved one directly, through a variety of experiences and examples, as the work you post here, I hope, shows."
Thank you, Craig--just beautiful sentiments. And without further ado, three erotic/romantic poems by my guest, C.E. Chaffin.
A pile of ash, a spaniel on a string,
a dormant summer lawn:
morning splits the milkweed shaft
left leafless by the Monarchs.
White skeletons rise aloft,
the kettle barbecue drops embers in its dish.
Two lightning bugs arc in and out
then reappear beneath a wall
of trees where they were not--
and all these jewels and wings,
the need of the dog caught
by his running leash, starved for touch,
and this pen condemned to a narrow life--
easier to focus on your green eyes
lightly puffed by grief, your lashes
dark as night's vegetation
because love never dies,
like the devotion of this spaniel,
and this man, and this
Not Wake the Tiger
Come with me, love
across this field of crimson poppies
to a bed of rushes
where the old tiger sleeps;
we will not wake him.
Do not bring your purse or make-up,
shed your jeans and bra.
Let your creamy legs
part the scarlet meadow,
the great pearls of your cheeks
rise and fall as in a carousel
above your pussy's diamond
as you glide ahead.
Lay your head
on the heaving stripes
of this old killer's belly
and be at ease because
he no longer dreams
of violence but generation.
Then sleep that I may admire
you at my leisure.
Softly you’ll stir
as I lick the pebbles of your areola
until you wake
with that infantile, angelic smile
of the truly loved.
Aroused you'll straddle me,
breasts grazing my chest,
your moist envelopment
my sure extinction as you flex
your magnificent thighs as if in prayer:
We will not wake the tiger.
When I say, "Do you love me?"
I 'm really asking, of course,
whether I love you
across this mad suspension bridge--
dark the gorge below
though not so dark as losing you
I pray the rope never unravels.
You are that perfect thing,
the sea hare I held in the moonlight,
translucent, patched with purple,
quivering invertebrate jewel
containing the entire sea
in boneless miniature.
So you envelop me.
I am a hollow cedar
stuffed with your scent,
scarred by the fire of your handkerchief.
My roots run to your ocean.
Ah, to hold you naked and wet!