Bemused

Bemused

Petrarch had his Laura,
a phoenix feather for his pen.
Danté’s blessed Beatrice
sent him to hell and back again.
Rilke’s heart-sick panther.
Burns’ wee tim’rous beastie.
None tremble with the thrill I feel
whenever you retweet me.

If my listicles are funny
and my clickbait off the hook,
I know I’m getting through to you
when you like me on Facebook.
They used to call it courtly love,
a bard’s devotion to his muse.
The give and take of glances.
The re-blogs and reviews.

I seduce you with my humor,
I secure you with my wit.
I’m your chaste friendzone beloved.
You’re my one millionth hit.
My every headline is a soul-song,
like a ribbon from my hair
that you proudly wear to battle
as a #hashtag that you care.

But what terrifying angel
draws close to the sublime
— I’d never want to meet you —
it’s much safer here online
where you are just a stranger
and you don’t know who I am,
just the vintage version of myself
I share on Instagram.

Still I try to live the questions
like every question is a meme,
and the memes are in a foreign tongue
quoting shows I’ve never seen.
But my image in your Tumblr
seems to scroll so quickly by,
like how for the greatest poets,
the best muses always die.

So I wander back to Petrarch
and his flame-like quill and ink.
(If you don’t get all these references,
you can Google them, I think.)
Or like Rilke and his panther,
hungry for a change of scene
beyond these ones and zeros
in my heart and on the screen.


Photo Credit: “Keeping notes in the 21st Century,” by Michael Dales (CC) [source]

Alison Leigh Lilly
Alison Leigh Lilly nurtures the earth-rooted, sea-soaked, mist-and-mystic spiritual heritage of her Celtic ancestors, exploring themes of peace, poesis and wilderness through essays, articles, poetry and podcasting. You can learn more about her work here.

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