Poetry: The Nymph and the Hipster

I wrote these poems while studying English at Whittier College, following my frequent rallying cry of “whoa this might be fun.” They are in the style of Christopher Marlowe’s The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, and then Walter Raleigh’s rather less sentimental The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd— and the style of everyone else inspired by them. Infinite thanks to William Harmon and his anthology “Top 500 Poems” (1992, Columbia University Press) for teaching me in the first place that poetry is fun, and it’s for everyone, and it can make the meanest day utterly frabjous.


The Nymph Tires of Facebook

Come live with me and be my love

For how long will these pleasures prove?

A thousand shining empty boxes

Two-line friends with empty losses

Don’t click with me and be my love

Or drink with me and be my love

Don’t waste our time with fake connection

Or vapid, vacuous celebration

But live with me and be my love

Let’s take a night that we two chose

And wander all the city streets

The quiet parks, the traffic beats

We’ll open up our heart’s chimeras

Hopes express like bud azaleas

Share a meal that’s quick and cheap

The night air rendering it sweet

We’ll wander sleepless all the night

And be caught by the morning light

We’ll wade into the ocean’s berth

Dance slowly in the noontide surf

A love is built partway on dreams

But needs more than computer screens

I want some pleasures we can prove –

Come live with me and be my love!

The Hipster’s Reply to the Nymph

If poetry and love were young

And truth in every nymphet’s tongue

These cutesy pleasures might me move

To try to live and be thy love

But now you’ve clearly lost what’s hip

Repeating Walter Raleigh’s shtick

I’d answer in iambs times four,

But bro, it’s all been done before.

First Marvell said that which I would –

To love you long before the Flood

To cherish you before ‘twas cool

Before love had down written rules

Your bad romance, your rain on fire

No sooner said than out of style,

Mocked, parodied, and forgotten

For tweenies, ripe, for twenties, rotten.

But could Love’s flame still fire me,

Had I no need for irony,

I’d shatter Facebook, stand up, move

To live with thee and be thy love.