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The Connoisseuse of Slugs -- Sharon Olds

Guest poem submitted by Juan:
(Poem #1003) The Connoisseuse of Slugs
 When I was a connoisseuse of slugs
 I would part the ivy leaves, and look for the
 naked jelly of those gold bodies,
 translucent strangers glistening along the
 stones, slowly, their gelatinous bodies
 at my mercy.  Made mostly of water, they would shrivel
 to nothing if they were sprinkled with salt,
 but I was not interested in that.  What I liked
 was to draw aside the ivy, breathe the
 odor of the wall, and stand there in silence
 until the slug forgot I was there
 and sent its antennae up out of its
 head, the glimmering umber horns
 rising like telescopes, until finally the
 sensitive knobs would pop out the
 ends, delicate and intimate.  Years later,
 when I first saw a naked man,
 I gasped with pleasure to see that quiet
 mystery reenacted, the slow
 elegant being coming out of hiding and
 gleaming in the dark air, eager and so
 trusting you could weep.
-- Sharon Olds
This is one of my favorite "love" poems. I like the mystery and sense of
discovery, "delicate and intimate", with not a note of eroticism or
lubriciousness. The emphasis lies in the sense of surprise and wonder at the
end, on the delicious naivete of the narrative voice. And what a trope! It
reminds me of the eloquent conceits of the Metaphysical poets, especially
John Donne. (cf. "The Flea", which is another love poem that might itself be
appropriate this week!).


[Minstrels Links]

Love poems:
Poem #997, The Passionate Shepherd to His Love -- Christopher Marlowe
Poem #998, A Blade of Grass -- Brian Patten
Poem #999, Casabianca -- Elizabeth Bishop
Poem #1001, The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd -- Sir Walter Raleigh
Poem #1002, The Bait -- John Donne
Poem #1003, The Connoisseuse of Slugs -- Sharon Olds

Sharon Olds:
Poem #812, Sex Without Love
Poem #1003, The Connoisseuse of Slugs


Some of you may have received two copies of yesterday's poem, "The Bait" by
John Donne, by mistake. Our apologies.

43 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Nancy Lovell said...

This is weird as beans, but where is Kenny when we need him most?

Anonymous said...

speaking of beans. a little like this.

barbara ras- you can't have it all.

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I love this phrase heir gelatinous bodies
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to nothing if they were sprinkled with salt.
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