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Rodin’s “The Kiss”

A twelve-inch copy, bronze,

gift from the man I married,

 

set on mahogany shelves

in our cleanest room,

 

the place I love to dust,

fingering some oval frames,

 

the glass-blown peacock,

one latticed ivory comb.

 

This Thursday morning with

lambswool and lemon spray

 

I tend to my statue, its swells

and hollows, its bare limbs —

 

shoulders and elbows, three knees

in relief, four embedded feet.

 

It is always the last thing

I take hold of, pull closer,

 

weigh in my hands, imagine as

the size of life. How many wives

 

realize that dust comes from

the skin a body loses? Here

 

we still are, he and I, spouses

who go about our lives, who

 

desire and part, part and desire,

touching what we love,

 

and thus The Kiss — their lips

meeting the flesh we shed.

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.

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ABOUT THIS POEM

This poem was inspired by the statue The Kiss by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). A small copy of the statue is kept in our home. This poem was one of 14 poems and 14 photographs accepted for the curated group exhibition Be Mine at the Alliance Gallery (Narrowsburg, NY) from January 31 through February 14, 2009. The poem was published first in the paper program of that exhibition.

SOUND & SENSE

My goal when composing any poem is to craft a passage of spoken language in which sound is at least as alluring as sense. For a longer discussion, read the comment beneath this blog entry.

FACT & FICTION

This poem is mostly fact. For a longer discussion, read the comment beneath this blog entry.

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About ThereseLBroderick

Independent community poet living in Albany, New York USA.

One response »

  1. ABOUT THIS POEM

    My goal when composing any poem is to craft a passage of spoken language in which sound is at least as alluring as sense.

    SOUND

    I want this poem to be paced slowly, to linger. As we look at the statue, we linger. Lovers linger with each other. To slow down the poem, I use short lines of three or four beats, and I group lines into two’s.

    I also want the sounds in this poem to be luxurious, just as lovers are luxurious with each other. I worked hard to achieve groups of richly-textured sounds throughout the poem (ex., “fingering some oval frames . . . ivory combs.”)

    SENSE

    In this poem I use the word “kiss” to refer to the statue itself, and to suggest the action of kissing. A coupling of two meanings.

    I present my dusting of the statue as both an obvious household chore, and as an implicit act of intimacy. A coupling of two meanings.

    FACT and FICTION

    Yes, I was taught once by a very elegant lady that cleaning a house is an act of love. If I fill my home with objects that I love, then I will love to take care of them.

    Yes, I clean my own house, rather than expect anyone else to do so.

    Yes, the statue was a gift from my husband and is displayed in the cleanest room of our house — our sitting room reserved for visitors.

    The shelves are glass, not mahogany. The shelves contain a latticed plastic comb and ivory souvenirs (which I combined in the poem into an ivory comb); and glass animals and a peacock feather (which I combined in the poem into a glass peacock).

    Yes, I read once somewhere that much of the dust in our homes comes from our daily sheddings.

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