Monday, October 30, 2006

246. Theme and Variation - Peter De Vries

Coleridge caused his wife unrest,
Liking other company best;
Dickens, never quite enthralled,
Sent his packing when she palled;
Gauguin broke the marriage vow
In quest of Paradise enow.
These things attest in monochrome:
Genius is the scourge of home.

Lady Nelson made the best of
What another took the rest of;
Wagner had, in middle life,
Three children by another's wife
Whitman liked to play the dastard,
Boasting here and there a bastard.
Lives of great men all remind us
Not to let their labors blind us.

Each helped to give an age its tone,
Though never acting quite his own.
Will of neither wax nor iron
Could have made a go with Byron;
Flaubert, to prove he was above
Bourgeois criteria of love,
Once took a courtesan to bed
Keeping his hat upon his head.

But mine is off to Johann Bach,
For whom my sentiment is "Ach!"
Not once, but twice, a model spouse,
With twenty children in the house.
Some fathers would have walked away
In what they call a fugue today;
But he left no one in the lurch,
And played the stuff he wrote in church.

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