Jim Chapson

Plotinus Blushed

ISBN: 9781851320493

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Jim Chapson published his first book-length collection of poetry when he was sixty-five. Daphnis and Ratboy (Arlen House, 2009), brought to the attention of a wider public the heady abundance of this truly audacious talent. In his poems he is a deeply cultured sensualist who communes effortlessly between a lofty pan-Hellenic past and a more offbeat latter-day Milwaukee. Attuned to the ancient, but alert to the present, he, like Cavafy, is a poet of time and desire. These new poems, ironically rueful, tender and laconically subtle, show the full range and resonance of Chapson’s masterful handling of the modern lyric.

– Cathal Ó Searcaigh

A Talk with the Heart

He was lying in bed waiting for sleep
to bring its possibilities
when his heart banged out a number
of irregular rhythms, demanding attention
like a drummer taking his solo.

Time for a talk with the heart, he thought.
He thanked it for being the steady one
in the relationship, apologized
for being so dependent, let it know
its long service was not unappreciated.

His heart replied it wasn’t asking
for recognition, that if he thought its toil
was on his behalf, he was mistaken;
it had its own agenda. The heart breaks,
heart throbs, heart felt desires, were all his doing.
In its heart of hearts it desired stillness.

He said to his heart, ‘I understand’,
but he didn’t. He said, ‘I’m sorry’,
but he wasn’t. He said, ‘from now on …’,
but didn’t know what came after that.