June 14, 2003

From Gerald R. Lucas

And I Lounged and Lay on Their Beds

When I went to that house of pleasure
I didn't stay in the front rooms where they celebrate,
with some decorum, the accepted modes of love.
I went into the secret rooms
and lounged and lay on their beds.

I went into the secret rooms
considered shameful even to name.
But not shameful to me -- because if they were,
what kind of poet, what kind of artist would I be?
I'd rather be an ascetic. That would be more in keeping,
much more in keeping with my poetry,
than for me to find pleasure in the commonplace rooms.

—C. P. Cavafy