Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your posts as much as possible.
20 August 2008
It’s just like one of those weeds
that swallows insects.
And it’s hungry! It seeks to feed.
I’ll swear it reaches out with its big side-flaps
and stretches and sucks —
you can hear the air retreat
in front of its jet funnel,
its ruching of in-drawn petals.
It puckers to an arch kiss,
pouts, plops like a fish,
flops to a loose pocket.
It gapes, it salivates, it wants your juices.
You tickle its hairy leaves and it gasps —
you are so pretty.
You are a winged thing,
and here is this coarse slobberer —
stop, take pity!
Only stroke it. Watch how it widens.
Oh yes — it’s sticky! It grasps, fastens,
And the fierce little eye in the middle
goes red, goes wild, throbs blindly, sizzles.
Bites, tightens till you shrivel.
© Rosemary Nissen-Wade 1974
from Universe Cat, Pariah Press (Melb.) 1985
First published (earlier version) Compass
The title – in case you haven't figured it out already – is a four-letter word meaning female genitalia. I don't usually censor it, but as this is a public space and I don't want Google removing my blog....
First written in 1974 and bravely published by Chris Mansell in the now-defunct literary magazine Compass, this was a famous poem in Australia for a while – and in some quarters infamous. It was universally referred to, both by those who loved it and those who hated it, as "THAT poem". Many people begged me to change the title to something more discreet or euphemistic, but I have always been convinced that this title is absolutely right POETICALLY.
I do believe it was the first "literary" piece of its kind, at least in this part of the world, where it inspired others to poems on the same and similar subjects. It appears on my "Texas Poetry Trip" blog, but I decided it was high time to post it here as well. I chose Melanie's wonderful orchid pic to use, with her permission, as my "Passionate Crone" icon largely because it struck me as a perfect illustration for this poem!
Submitted 6 July 2013 for Poets United's Verse First: Appetite