Casanova and
the Madonna


I. Naked Flights

Yes, sweet cheeky smile, I like you too,
and yes, we could have a world in common up here
in my sun-splashed, squeaky bed just now and again
for an hour of your busy life that no-one might summon;
each tiny hair awake, your naked body
would bathe in the sky without - the weary, weather-washed
homes with their shiny moist roofs beneath us forgotten
in this room that women often compare to an eyrie.

Your shopping bag abandoned, your eyes would possess
the great city below and your thoughts would soar to poetry
and plays, nothing stopping their flight until the mother
and wife awakened inside you, frightened of more.
Being considerate adults, we'd seek to protect
your home from our passion, and let the madonna in you
take charge of the cheeky girl and bid her to sail
a safe course in the clouds - lest she be stained by the foam.

At home, the madonna would cheerfully tend to the needs
of so many brittle, exposed and raven emotions,
the madonna who feeds herself to the piercing milkteeth
of family, serving a sentence without committal.
A fellow martyr, your husband would play the blind page,
the most liberal husband-in-law one might have selected,
and his savage rage at your naked flights in the sunshine
would surface as pulsing friendship - directed at me.

And I would play the intimate friend of the family,
I'd be the first with the flowers if you should give birth again,
a friend to relax with, on whom to depend, with my brand
of brandy kept in the house for our restful hours.
I'd warm my loneliness by your peaceful fire;
I'd repay your kindness, according to the rules,
in my favourite restaurants -- only to make you feel
sublime, and him a sophisticate, and me foolish.

Our pleasantly prudent lives would stroll on forever
if the passion of mortals yielded to prudent control.
But listen! - the toll of decay is recording and setting
our finite lives by the absolute terms of eternity...
Listen! I like you. We may have in common a world.
But our naked affection up here in my sun-splashed bed
might free the alive and cheeky girl to summon
and to burn the madonna into a grey recollection. 

II. Flowers

          A lover prizing generosity in bed and at table,
I, Casanova, survey the town at play from my tall balcony,
delighting in the restless, resonant whirl of the world.
I watch the women. They are off to the shops, accompanied
by their curly babies and furry pets. They are naked in their hearts
beneath the lazy, unblinking gaze of the Mediterranean sky
and they softly purr their promising, moist preoccupations,
immersed in the golden honey heat of the early autumn.

          I, Casanova, hold the horizon from this noble apartment
replete with the treasures of a graceful procession of beauties.
Each one has left behind, like a cherished bridal veil,
the memory of her very own fragrance and flavour and weight,
the testing peck of her kiss on my skin and the taste of her teeth,
her sly evasions and grins and cries, and the shy and the hesitant,
humble, yielding, waiting, yearning, greedy, arching, throbbing,
all-revealing welcome through the gates of her body -

          I'm Casanova: I give and I take without counting the price.
I gain both ways. For the gift of one's person enriches the giver
allowed to share the secret trembles of a fellow creature,
as close to becoming one with another as two can ever reach.
I look and delight in the sight of this daily display of splendour,
the charm and beauty of shapes and colours and movements below,
this bedful of beckoning female flowers in the sunshine reminding
me of one who is briefly away and who took my heart with her.

Thomas Land

If you have any comments on this poem, Thomas Land would be pleased to hear from you.