Today's poem is by Patricia Brody

Dangerous to Know
    "Mad, bad, and dangerous to know"
          LADY CAROLINE LAMBS journal entry,
          on first meeting Lord Byron, 1812

I've been chilling with these dead people,
          not just reading their letters and poems
but going to their balls.

I've been under their clothes
          in their skins,
sticking to dampened petticoats

and floaty muslin.
          I'm at Devonshire House;
Lady Someone is my mother.

At Brocket I'm running through the trees,
          a lordly satyr at my heels, his lip
curled, his brow furred, pale skin agleam,

his hair black as the moors, of course.
          "I know not," I say in some confusion
"but this I believe; the hand of heaven never

impressed on man a countenance
          so beautiful..." oh
if it falls on me —

There are parties and morning calls,
          dances from Allemagne and Spain
swirling the halls. These most nervous affairs!

Fly me, says the mad corsair.
          Deep-drugged in the night
I creep from bed, Lord M stretched

senseless beside me.
          Down through Georgiana's garden
I fall, down to the white hawthorn

as the mist rises from wet petals
          and opium swells in syrupy draughts,
I swoon: For God's sake! Sherry!

(Sips from Spain revive me.)
          And the susurrous leaves will
waken the heat in my reborn thighs.

Over the moonstones I leap, snapping twigs.
          Grass clings to my winged soles.
"Do you know what I've done?" sneers he.

"I've heard but I know it is false," I breathe.
          "No, I've done what they say," he boasts.
How can I not cry out?

He reaches to crush me into his coat,
          his thigh strums through my gown,
I drink his sighs in the moonlight —

broken gasps — Greek and natural;
          we are so gone, we are so pale,
and his maimed foot throbs in the soil.

Copyright © 2014 Patricia Brody All rights reserved
from Dangerous to Know
Salmon Poetry
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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