Not these outward copies

Two gloves on vellum, superimposed, drawing by William Eaton, May 2017 (2) - high res, flippedA stumbling sonnet duet, for V.T.


“Not these outward copies,

But we combined, despite and all ready

And by somehow just by ourselves

Conversation stumbling


While fingers softly curl

Round these our gloved bodies

Found, despite, deservedly

Side by side and close compelled


The weather just our breathing

And your glow now unfurls—”

“Oh, my friend, my silly,

Achingly and despite—both you and both me,


With other lives we—our other, well-tethered feelings—”

“We wait unsated, too far apart, our lives from hunger stealing.”


Poem and drawing by William Eaton

§ As I was completing this poem, I came across Kate Light’s sonnet, Reading Someone Else’s Love Poems, which concludes:

. . . lovers have dreamed their loves upon

the pages, courted and schemed and twirled

and styled, hoping that once they’d unfurled their down-

deep longing, they would have their prize—

not the songs of love, but the love beneath disguise.

Well said, and yet . . . As I note in my essay about Plato and his Lysis, Friendship, Deception, Writing (Agni 83), given the deceptions and déceptions of human social life, rather than wishing to win love (or honor or power), a writer may often find his greatest pleasure in his imaginary couplings and in his rubbings on papyrus or tapping on keys. We may compare Plato’s dialogue with Cyrano de Bergerac, in which an aging, ugly, noble soldier gives all his poetry and all his love for a woman to a young, good-looking man, who, in theory at least, is going to use these gifts to win her love and lips. “D’autres montaient cueillir le baiser de la gloire !” (For others the ascent, the glorious embrace!)

And for the writer? The pleasures and displeasures of solitude, of craft and art.


Now available from Amazon: Art, Sex, Politics

Art, Sex, Politics cover from AmazonIn a new, provocative collection of essays, William Eaton, the author of Surviving the Twenty-First Century, shares the pleasures of questions, tastes, reading and more visual arts. “That we are animals, that is as sure as ever. How savagely we behave! And how affectionately rub up against one another. How, desperately, make love?”

Kind words about Surviving: “Entertaining, yet packs a quiet intellectual wallop. . . . so thought-provoking and poetic I didn’t want it to end . . . beautiful and wise and moving . . . engaged, non-doctrinaire, well-read, independent-minded. . . . William Eaton finds arresting themes in unusual places. . . . The writing is masterful and wonderfully absorbing.”

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