Guest poem sent in by "William Grey"
(Poem #1748) The Perfume
"... marked males of the silkworm moth have been known to fly upwind seven miles to a fragrant female of their kind ... the chemical compound with which a female silkworm moth attracts mates is highly specific; no other species seem aware of it. In 1959, the Nobel Laureate Adolph Butenandt of the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich succeeded in analysing it. He found it to be an alcohol with sixteen carbon atoms per molecule ...." L. and M. Milne: The Senses of Animals and Men. 0 Chloë, have you heard it, This news I sing to you? It's true, my lovely bird, it Is absolutely true! A biochemist probing Has caught without a doubt The Queen of Love disrobing And found her secret out. What drives the Bombyx mori To fly, intrepid male, Lured by the old, old story Six miles against the gale? The formula, my Honey, Is now in print to prove What is, and no baloney, The very stuff of love. At Munich on the Isar Those molecules were found Which everyone agrees are What makes the world go round; What draws the male creation To love, my darling doll, Turns out, on trituration, To be an alcohol. A Nobel Laureatus Called Adolph Butenandt Contrived to isolate us This strong intoxicant. The boys are celebrating And singing at the club: Here's Bottoms up! to mating, Since Venus keeps a pub! My angel, 0, my angel, What is it you suffuse, What redolent evangel, What nosegay of good news? What draws me like a dragnet And holds and keeps me tight? What odds! my fragrant magnet, I shall be drunk tonight!
The thread of poems on intoxication prompts me to submit a poem by Australian poet A.D. Hope (1907-2000) linking intoxication and love. It is the second in a sextet entitled 'Six Songs for Chloë'. Hope had a thirst for learning which ranged widely over texts ancient and modern, and which included contemporary research in science as well as poetry and philosophy. The poem is from A.D. Hope, New Poems 1965-69, pp. 33-34. William Grey