Days of 1986 by Carolyn Kizer

He was believed by his peers to be an important poet,
But his erotic obsession, condemned and strictly forbidden,
Compromised his standing, and led to his ruin.

Over sixty, and a father many times over,
The objects of his attention grew younger and younger:
He tried to corrupt the sons of his dearest friends;
He pressed on them drinks and drugs,
And of course he was caught and publicly shamed.
Was his death a suicide? No one is sure.

But that’s not the whole story; it’s too sordid to tell.
Besides, the memory of his poems deserves better.
Though we were unable to look at them for a time
His poems survive his death.
There he appears as his finest self:
Attractive, scholarly, dedicated to love.

At last we can read him again, putting aside
The brute facts of his outer life,
And rejoice at the inner voice, so lofty and pure.

by Carolyn Kizer

Other poems by 'Carolyn Kizer'

Poet's Household

A Song for Muriel

American Beauty

Cultural Evolution

Fearful Women

Mud Soup

On a Line From Valery

On a Line from Valery (The Gulf War)

Parent's Pantoum

Reunion

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