Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

A Christopher Marlowe Poem

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of th purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

________________

Herbert Nehrlich addition:

And I shall weave from fallen leaves
a crown which in the end deceives
the devil and his Reaper grim,
no sight will fade, no eyes gow dim

On moss you will be resting and
with kisses love and soothe my hand
the sheep? The hounds will care for those
while I go find for you a rose

to place behind you pretty ear
so that from now it too can hear
the whispers of your lover’s call
each tone, and PACE*, yes to all,

I thirst for you, please kiss my lips
and bring them close, your sensuous hips,
and let us rest here, in the shade
while thoughts of duty slowly fade.

Socks

Today is the day goddammit.
Not just another Monday
with all its pressures and urges
and society commitments and
the ah so expected lousy weather.

No, I am calling everyone’s bluff,
crimes against my dignity have
under some cockamamie disguise
been perpetrated again, a clear case
of repeat offenses in the name of,
and under cover for the vanity flair.

It’s all about socks, needless to say,
a never ending serial embezzlement
in nylon, rayon, cotton and mixed threads.
He should have, by rights and decency
moved out a decade ago, out and away
to where ordinary K-Marts and Mrs.Sears
are the proper purveyors of fabric footwear.

I was on to his game, aided and abetted by
no other than his own mother, spoiled brat,
and I am the fifth wheel parked in the weather,
so who would blame me for resorting to
abject ingenuity born from sheer desperation,
a scheme which was certain to derail all
including his best laid plans. Stomp on them
I would in secret but publicly there would be
as a weekly routine spanning many months,
sock buying sprees governed by strict rules.

Having ascertained offspring’s strong dislike
for licorice purple and gooseshitgreen,
the strategy was one of utter genius and,
to no one’s surprise, resting on the pillars of
brilliance and strategic supremacy. Oh yes.
Drawer after drawer filled with MY socks,
some cotton, some nylon and some mixed stuff.

Before Christmas I obtained, in a streak of luck,
four pairs for the price of two, real beauties,
with a fluorescent stripe encircling the upper ankle
and re-enforced heel and toe regions as well as
elastic twice woven in the factories of Switzerland.

I still had my suspicion, of course, looking casually
at the boy’s lower extremeties while encouraging,
by example, a rapid stride which would lend
a rather sporty swinging bounce to our locomotion,
allowing me that revealing glimpse at the border
between sock and the lower end of the instep.

And today, on this miserable Monday morning,
with all its unreasonable demands and noises,
shrill and unconducive to recovery from ethanol excess
there are NO SOCKS! ! ! Blow me down again.

Postponing, by sheer necessity, all detective work
where will I find a pair of any colour, where indeed?
Believe you me, I feel the nagging of a new suspicion,
and vow to have another look at her, down from the knees.

And Many Happy Returns

He had just celebrated,
with kindred friends and spirits
his seventieth.
The guests now gone

and one could hear
the squeaking of his rocking chair
accompanied by birds,
who, in the tropics, sing at night
as well, it set the stage
for melancholy reminiscence
about the crossroads he had reached
where spectators just stood,
observing him with friendly faces
and the benevolence of man.

The specialist had said ‘you will be fine’,
though using neutral words to intimate
that things were in control,
that modern medicine would win
with weapons like FU, his special chemo.
There was a climate that surrounded
and pampered him, as if to say
‘because we like you, Jim, you’ll be okay.’

And so, there was no need to fret,
to get some order into his affairs.
He looked again at the physician’s card,
with HAPPY BIRTHDAY in fluorescent letters.
He read the text again, but searched,
in vain for what was old tradition:
Returns, the many happy ones!
It was not there, perhaps an oversight?

A shadow crossed his tired face
when from within a voice sang out,
it told him what he knew to be
the truth, that this would be his very last.

……Of Gold?

I was not looking when you found me
you stopped just long enough to smile.
I felt your presence all around me
and hoped that you would stay awhile.

You hurried on – you had your reason
and faded slowly in the light,
’twas hot, the highest summer season:
And then you turned – I’d hoped you might.
You flashed a brief but lovely look,
it made me feel quite weird.
Then silly me ‘What if she took
offense at my gray beard? ‘

Then you were gone, the sun left with you,
the night air came with sudden force.
And to this day I often miss you
when you are not at home, of course.

What is she like, I wondered then,
what does she value and adore?
Would she expect to see in men
some muscles, brains and looks and more?

And when I left, went down the road
I had her on my mind.
I thought I recognised the coat
or was I going blind?
And near an oak tree she was resting,
I knew not what to think
and thought that someone must be testing
to drive me to the brink.

The rest you know, my lovely sweet:
It’s just as you had told.
You wanted one that didn’t just beat,
you needed one of gold.

And may I burn in hot damnation
for being so conceited.
But here I am – on this occasion
I must not be defeated!
‘I have one, although it is old’,
I shouted loud into your ear,
‘It beats okay – it’s made of gold! ‘
And YOU CAME CLOSE TO HEAR!

The little secret -now revealed
is that I slaved and polished
this drum that was just MOSTLY gold.
The flaws are now abolished.

And that was only the beginning.

Share