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'Aeneas Remembers Domestic Bliss' a poem by Dorothy Porter

June 2008, no. 302

'Aeneas Remembers Domestic Bliss' a poem by Dorothy Porter

June 2008, no. 302

We were never married, Dido.
Cease weeping, let me leave and agree
we both knew real spouses.

Even as the ghost of my precious wife passed
through my clutching arms like mist
I swear on my soul I could taste her.

O the scorch of lost Trojan mornings
in our rumpled bed with bread, figs
and, yes, honey!

I could taste honey
as if every bee in Troy
had made her phantom its swarming hive.

Of course I will miss you.
But release us both from this futile tar-pit
and accept we were never married

Yes, my divided heart rears for you
mourning already the smell of your flushed skin
and the sting of your green fire eyes

but we were never married
and your ghost – such threats! –
will keep its roost and never come

looking for me through
my next awful war, next sacked city
to flood my drought mouth in honey – or poison.

We were never married, Dido.
Believe me, I’m sad too that you can’t
sweeten me and I can’t comfort you.

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