My Wish for My Land

The Woman:
My wish for my land is that ladies be beautiful,
That horses be spirited and gentlemen courteous
And all moustaches faultless.
My wish for my husband is that he read Tennyson.
My wish for my daughter is that she be interesting
And capture a million acres.
My wish for my sons is that they be chivalrous,
sun-tanned and tall, and that they bestow on me’
Perhaps a dozen grandsons.
My wish for my house is that linen be Irish
And tableware sterling, and that the piano
Go never too long unplayed
My wish for myself is that I grow matronly,
Straying in dove-grey silk through the roses
Under the far far harking of the crows.

The Enemy

As well, maybe, that you cannot read our minds;
There are worse tools than swords and rifle-butts.

My enemy: my passion. At dead of night,
Licking my wounds, I begin to think I love you.

Certainly none were ever so bound in love
As we are bound in hate: O my ideal.

One sight of you, and life grows meaningful.
One blow: new strength to every slave who watches;

One word: revived fidelity, fresh lust.
Time-weakness – absence – death can have no bearing.

You whom I serve, your prefect gentle knight,
Can you divine that longed-for consummation?

Lover: I mean to take you like a sponge,
And wring your blood out on Hiroshima.


-Randolph Stow


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