Saturday, March 1, 2008

Eye of the Beholder

Something one of Iris Murdoch's characters said has stuck with me because I have often wondered the same thing: I can't remember the exact quote, but it was something along the lines of: What makes a person love A but not B?

Remember those old sayings, "Love is blind" and "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"? Regarding the latter, a poet from down Boston way (Somerville, actually) has written a poem expressing the opposite sentiment:

Repulsiveness Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Let’s get over the hump.
Walk along with the stump.
The pimple, the pustule
The blatant stain
On the nape of
A crippled neck
Kiss it like a lovable

Lay in the shade
Of a sagging breast,
Caress the flesh
Of a withered and spindly thigh
And look at me
With an unjaundiced and loving
Gimlet eye.

-- Doug Holder

[With permission of the author. First published in Best Poem: A Literary Journal, Dec. 10, 2007. Doug Holder’s work has appeared in Poesy, Word Riot, Underground Window, Poetry Bay, Main St. Rag, Sahara, Iodine, and many more. He is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press]

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