He was The Lord of Lowering, and she
The Witch of West Wherever,
an amorous bird of prey
that Marvell might have championed.
Without quite meaning it,
she held him in her thrall.
Nurturing a garden,
she'd sentence plants to die.
Erotic joy - but not its sister,
sexual pleasure - was
a bounty of her voice,
her presence and her touch.
Her fragrance spray gave
only evil's odour.
Babies cried at her approach,
dog's growled and cattle fled,
And when at last she let
him slink into her bed,
it had more strings attached, he found,
than a macramé web.
Macramé was her hobby,
she used its skills to hobble him
in tight string garments that she'd tie
with her own brand of love.
By that she branded him.
Of whips, she'd two:
one short and red,
the other black and long,
a rat's tail, tapering
towards the business end.
She'd crack them when the time had come
for him to shake his feathers out and take
on board some new persona
to appease her passing whim:
a child perhaps, a servant, horse,
an idiot or dog. She'd crack
them to more purpose though,
when playful, disappointed, vexed
or passionate. And doubly so
for disrespecting Tortoise-shell,
her one familiar and his bête noir.
(And black it was, in all but name.).
The day came when their morning trot
descended into farce. He bucked
and threw her from his back.
His punishment: to be confined
a single night in her tin trunk
(For no amount of grovelling,
boot licking, being spanked
could possibly atone
or put the matter right.)
She saw it as a sign
that he was slipping from her power.
It happened on the very day
that Tortoise-shell, to her delight
and great astonishment,
seduced her - twice.
All night she walked around the trunk
in widdershins, intoning
from her mother's book,
the poem, Migrant Soul.
At daybeak she unlocked the trunk.
He stepped out free as air
and purring slightly, while the cat,
its face and body badly scratched,
hissed and spat between the knots
and tangled strands of its string suit.
I can't believe you thought I'd leave you without a proper poem! Here's the Andrew Marvell Poem from which I took my reference.
To his coy mistress
Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Should'st rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain, I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow ;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze ;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest ;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart ;
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near ;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honor turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust :
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now, therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapt power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life :
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.