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Riffs on the lyric Chloris

The lyric Chloris (after Théophile de Viau–1590-1626)

If it’s true, Chloris, that you love me
(and I understand that you love me well)
then the ecstasy of kings
couldn’t rival my happiness
and even the joys of heaven in death
would be unwelcome
Paradise couldn’t surpass the sweet ambrosia,
the fiery nectar of love in our veins
or how your favor for me reflects against eternity
and the love I see in your eyes

 

The Riffs
                 1.
She hated solitude and wouldn’t retreat
He wasn’t interested in his illness
and wouldn’t discuss it
Mom was always smiling at people
she didn’t want to smile at—she did it for you
He remained in his tent that morning
and sobbed like some broken hearted woman
All felt for him and pitied him
The loss of the orange trees still lingers here
Not one of us will ever come back
                2.
Happiness is insensitivity—
he relies on suggestions, rituals, lightly held beliefs
Nature is wider than her obtuse, anxious, speculations
His loneliness for her is self-imposed
It’s time to leave her now...
They didn’t live together, not right away
May the universe obliterate her lies, or save her
This failure’s so severe, so human
There were no revelations in this ardent, anxious, violence— not for us
She pretends to love but he just can’t see her
                3.
She followed the hearse to the church
but didn’t attend the funeral
out of deference to the family
We’re all bad detectives, bad at discovery
It wasn’t a moral failure
It was a failure of fellowship and good feeling
She looked so small standing alone in that doorway...
Admiration or aversion— you praise, desire, blame or despise
She was attracted to swindlers and was a deep seated grifter herself—
he looked at her then with such love in his eyes

-December 20, 2011-