the wedge of her nose quite rightfully assumed


Six short poems, five women & the Alps

Woman in orange and gray, drawing by William Eaton, Oct 2018 - 2Below are several poems about different women, real or imagined, and about the Alps. The poems were drafted very early one morning after taking a train over the Alps from Geneva and dining at a restaurant in the Città Studi neighborhood of Milan, and, interspersed with this, reading some of Paul Éluard’s youthful poems. I will begin by reproducing a favorite of these latter, “Lesquels” (Which), with my translation in parentheses—

Pendant qu’il est facile

(So long as he is easy)

Et pendant qu’elle est gaie

(And so long as she is gay)

Allons nous habiller et nous déshabiller

(Let’s get dressed up and get undressed)


We’re now down to one poet, five short poems, four women and the Alps.




Behind the long panes of glass

She watched the mountains

Which threatened to be more than mountains

Which threatened to devour the lake

She waiting, naked at her lakeside window



On the 13.39 to Milan

Beyond any train that may climb the Rhône

Des cimes solides et arbitraires

(Peaks solid and arbitrary)

Magnify the weather and magnify children

Minimize our books and electronic devices


And may not these not waiting, ragged peaks

Their white, the blue, above the gray

Between the cold thighs of the universe

Les dieux ont préparé notre disparition il y a longtemps

(The gods long ago prepared our disappearance)



On the 13.39 to Milan, II

Your book is thicker than the milk

Which is building up in your breasts


O for one more half-curious half-glance more!


As the train climbs beside the river

Which keeps running next to her elbow



Città Studi

Blue-jeaned and lean

Midriff bare, soft in the air

In that restaurant back room

The wedge of her nose

Though absent-minded

Quite rightfully assumed



Crouching, she could feel

Crouching, she could feel that her lips divided the world in two

Her urine descended warmly from the sky


These were not things she was planning to talk about

Though on the whole she was pleased


— Poems and drawing by William Eaton


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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?”
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Categories: Listening for the Unconscious, Poems (including Limericks), sex (more or less), Zed

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