How could they think women a recreation?
Or the repetition of bodies of steady interest?
Only the ignorant or the busy could. That elm
of flesh must prove a luxury of primes;
be perilous and dear with rain of an alternate earth.
Which is not to damn the forested China of touching.
I am neither priestly nor tired, and the great knowledge
of breasts with their loud nipples congregates in me.
The sudden nakedness, the small ribs, the mouth.
Splendid. Splendid. Splendid. Like Rome. Like loins.
A glamour sufficient to our long marvelous dying.
I say sufficient and speak with earned privilege,
for my life has been eaten in that foliate city.
To ambergris. But not for recreation.
I would not have lost so much for recreation.
Nor for love as the sweet pretend: the children's game
of deliberate ignorance of each to allow the dreaming.
Not for the impersonal belly nor the heart's drunkenness
have I come this far, stubborn, disasterous way.
But for relish of those archipelagoes of person.
To hold her in hand, closed as any sparrow,
and call and call forever till she turn from bird
to blowing woods. From woods to jungle. Persimmon.
To light. From light to princess. From princess to woman
in all her fresh particularity of difference.
Then oh, through the underwater time of night
indecent and still, to speak to her without habit.
This I have done with my life, and am content.
I wish I could tell you how it is in that dark,
standing in the huge singing and the alien world.
- -- Jack Gilbert, "Don Giovanni on his way to Hell"