Thursday, October 8, 2009

Quote of the Day: Sex & Poetry--A Love Story

"Ya know, when I first read the poem, I kept thinking of the male body part. But then I said, 'Nah, that's not right. People don't write poems about sex. When did they start doing that?'"
--One of my students after reading, "Down, Wanton Down"

The misconceptions about language, literature, and writing can provide some of the best discussion fodder. I've copied and pasted the poem in question below. If you don't know what "wanton" means, go to for clarification.

Down, Wanton, Down by Robert Graves

Down, wanton, down! Have you no shame
That at the whisper of Love's name,
Or Beauty's, presto! up you raise
Your angry head and stand at gaze?

Poor bombard-captain, sworn to reach
The ravelin and effect a breach--
Indifferent what you storm or why,
So be that in the breach you die!

Love may be blind, but Love at least
Knows what is man and what mere beast;
Or Beauty wayward, but requires
More delicacy from her squires.

Tell me, my witless, whose one boast
Could be your staunchness at the post,
When were you made a man of parts
To think fine and profess the arts?

Will many-gifted Beauty come
Bowing to your bald rule of thumb,
Or Love swear loyalty to your crown?
Be gone, have done! Down, wanton, down!

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