Feline Philosophers

(A Villonaud, with debts to György Faludy)
Beautiful Heaulmiere
Slaves dawn-to-dusk who never heard my whining,
scholastic types and pretty culturettes
familiar with the works of my ablest clients
(or lovers) who explored my ugliness...
you would have surrendered all to look me
between the thighs before time squandered my wealth!
I beg of you a gliding thought for a woman,
princes, in a world where god is a gent.
Immortal men have cast the old woman’s form
in naked, accurate bronze and sounds and words.
Yet she was graceful once, and shy, and charming,
a virgin as you wish your daughters were,
with transient treasures of beauty hers to give
(no charity that: only to gain herself).
Once she lived through her lovers, a woman fulfilled,
princes, in a world where god is a gent.
Courtiers and merchants, mercenaries, churchmen
submitted gladly then to my female whim
with howling heat and passion, violent, urgent,
that nowadays would not bring me an imbecile
until, as a fool, I fell for a wily bastard
and loved him for decades faithfully (more or less)
but he left me without a purpose when we parted,
princes, in a world where god is a gent.
This timeless tale of the passing generations
pollutes your innocent lives. He thrashed me hard.
He dragged me by the breasts. He fouled my face.
But when he switched his mood and chose to charm
me into bed, I flew with desire whatever
my woes. Until the kissing stopped for he was dead
and I remained unloved and alone begging,
princes, in a world where god is a gent.
Dare you wonder how her old beauty has faded?
And where is the siren song of the sensuous maiden,
the gaze of her eyes, her eyebrows’ noble grace?
And where is the open face of the bygone wench,
her lips like figs, her crown of piled up hair,
her fragile neck that men so often bared,
her dimpled bum, her skin’s light, maddening fragrance,
princes, in a world where god is a gent?
My shoulders once were delicately curved.
My arms were made for loving, with well-versed hands.
My generous breasts, so soft to touch, would purr
beneath the welcome weight of a chosen man.
My belly was the valley of your dreams,
its garden graced a well of mystery.
My house was perfect to please you, honoured guests,
princes, in a world where god is a gent.
I cannot believe the evening. The light has failed.
Hideous hairs protrude from my haggard ears.
My eyes are lusting, my lips are scorched. My shameless
odour follows as constant catastrophe.
My trusting face has waned like the moon whose mocking,
erotic course through the month I have learned to forget
as I wander along the roadside, myself forgotten,
princes, in a world where god is a gent.
Her aching breasts droop down like empty purses,
her shoulders humped, her skin abandoned leather.
And even breathing is a wheezing burden
beneath her belly’s loose and spreading desert.
Her wealth of youth has purchased no exemption:
time’s peasant has left grim furrows across her neglected,
parched body for use beyond our comprehension,
princes, in a world where god is a gent.
Slaves and mercenaries and poets and swine,
I’m all the women you will ever find:
sweet Jannie so eager to give and oh! to be taken,
the many who strove for you but could never make it,
the ones you have divorced (remember their names?)
and I am even your mother, possessed by death,
whose eyes caress you from every female face,
princes, in a world where god is a gent.
Ugly Florence
Feline philosophers of fame,
they huddle close in fear and blame
the sunset’s pale and spent embrace
for their fulfilment’s dying grace.
Their resolutions wrought in rage
reflect the wisdom of their age
as they sadly part from their vocation
like coins withdrawn from circulation.
Therefore Jannie,
Aunt Florence said,
keep your love in your purse and spread
your sheets as wide as they stretch, and wed
before you lose your lubrication.
Children? a nuisance but can be good
insurance against the likelihood
of your husband fleeing
(if only I could!)
like coins withdrawn from circulation.
For men are frigid and calculating,
exploitative, cunning, suspicious and mean.
The prince on a charger you’ve been awaiting,
wasting your youth, has never been seen.
Some men pretend, with lots of fun
and games, until the day of castration
only to leave when the loving is done
like coins withdrawn from circulation.
You may think you enjoy your subjugation
with your pig of a prince in his splendid hall,
but he makes you into an object, his prey
for possession in love,
ruled Aunty Flo.
Take head, lovely Jannie, I caution you all,
pretty Vivienne, Julia and Judith and May
Suzannah and Patsy already know
(like coins withdrawn from circulation).
Hold back your heart when you merge with your man.
Think of your mink and take what you can.
Your hormones are acting up? don`t get the notion
that sex is to do with any emotion!
Destroy your shackles. Master your traitor
animal lust with a nimble vibrator
or you shall be expelled from love’s domination
like coins withdrawn from circulation.
And chase your luck in money and strike it.
And cross your fingers and open your legs.
And remember your aunty while she begs.
Lie back, little person, pretend you like it...
What women need is liberation
from all their passion’s treachery, since
they will be discarded, whoever the prince,
like coins withdrawn from circulation.
...And liberation and provocation
and lubrication and subjugation
and sublimation and deviation
and domination and termination
and litigation and allocation
and speculation and compensation
and alienation and exploitation...
Withdraw these coins from circulation!
But Jannie is wiser
than those who advise her,
a female fulfilled
and free.
Aunt Flo may be eager
to lead her and feed her
on bile
but Jannie loves me.
A good woman said:
The man in my bed
can`t even afford
a light.
But no call for candles,
he knowingly handles
my needs
in the light of the night.
Friends, in our world
that gents have whirled,
designed, erected
and own
there’s no torment to bear
like the rootless despair
of a woman

a woman alone.

Thomas Land

The first of these three poems follows  Faludy's adaptation of a Villon ballade fairly closely. The second is based on Villon alone and the third on a Mediaeval French song to which Villon makes references in his Testament.
If you have any comments on this poem, Thomas Land would be pleased to hear them.