Robert Lowell

(1917 - 1977 / Boston / United States)

"To Speak of Woe That Is in Marriage"


"The hot night makes us keep our bedroom windows open.
Our magnolia blossoms.Life begins to happen.
My hopped up husband drops his home disputes,
and hits the streets to cruise for prostitutes,
free-lancing out along the razor's edge.
This screwball might kill his wife, then take the pledge.
Oh the monotonous meanness of his lust. . .
It's the injustice . . . he is so unjust--
whiskey-blind, swaggering home at five.
My only thought is how to keep alive.
What makes him tick?Each night now I tie
ten dollars and his car key to my thigh. . . .
Gored by the climacteric of his want,
he stalls above me like an elephant."

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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  • Calvin Towle (4/21/2007 6:36:00 PM)

    The poems of Lowell that one sees in anthologies are all pretty tame beside this one, which probably embarrasses the editors of anthologies. (Report) Reply

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