We’re thinking of partnering; these seemed greatly to matter,
Revealing whether I would do; or perhaps what she really wished—
Was continuing on alone instead of love with its risks?
And could she me accuse of lacking in her interest?
Question-less I can only reply: I have no shopping list,
Nor can we humans know in advance (my scrupulous dove?)
With whom might knotted hearts try to lose themselves in love?
I hear you decry men’s objectification of women,
And with Shades of Gray and with Girls you’re apparently smitten.
About your and my desires we can only be confused
And frightened of those appetites our lust would abuse.
While I’m little drawn to media meant to shock or titillate,
Let’s between sheets explore how indecision fluctuates.
— Poem and drawing by William Eaton
Watercolor drawing is after one of Toulouse-Lautrec’s many drawings of Marcelle Lender, a French singer, dancer and entertainer.
Further notes: As regards form, I wonder what might mean this shift from the 10-syllable line of sonnets past to the 15-syllable line that has seemed right in the present case? It certainly allows greater use of polysyllabic words. And it cannot be irrelevant that in the days this poem was taking shape, I read some comments on Andrew Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress. There is a connection here, too, with Limerick 53, from Part II (Injustice, Trump, Illness, Poetry):
If in some new place you lose your way
Your compass’s north goes astray
It can be months of confusion
Of annoyance and disillusion
“But there’s no wrong in the night,” lovers say.