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.