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In Praise of Old Wives


Let her become my mate

and get me in her power

and save me from the fate

of Arthur Schopenhauer.


Cursing the common people, he

led a secluded life

and, hating women deeply,

grew old—and had no wife.


A young sculptress appeared,

disarmed, charmed, got his trust.

It happened as he had feared.

She carved his famous bust.


The portrait, thought by many

to show her adoration,

sold for a pretty penny

and made her reputation.


Together they rejoiced.

Her compliments were deft.

His glad old eyes were moist.

A month later, she left.


There was a power above her—

duty to art, she said.

There also was a lover,

and he was good in bed.


Poor Arthur pined away,

was buried in the spring.

People inclined to say,

women were not his thing.


But is that all to say?

A good old jealous wife

keeps sculptresses at bay,

philosophers in life.


Richard Moore



From Bottom is Back, Orchises Press,
© 1994.  Originally printed in the
Kansas Quarterly
.  Reprinted by
permission of the author.



Backgrounds by
Country Luvn Clipart


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