Three Versions

Take one   [sonnet]

I set out riding once at dusk, for exercise, by bike

riding along a cemetery’s tranquil summer trails.

God’s wonders peeking forth from evening veils

I mused along vague themes:  Life – and suchlike…

Rounding one swift curve a classic vision assailed:

three nubile maids in nylon, fresh from the pool.

this trinity passed so swift that I,  mad fool,

Beheld three graces in my mind; reverie prevailed.

Midst sepulchers of death’s demise I wondered at the sight…

Was I Paris?  Judgment thus impaired by youth and beauty,

bemused,  my mind’s eye lingered on… distracted in its duty.

Ah careless sprites, that eve – were you the resurrection’s dawn?

(But on the third go-by my heavenly thoughts fell down to earth

Carnality resumed; I scanned their suits of flesh for worth…)


Take two  [rhymed couplets]

While I rode out one summer eve through a cemetery’s peaceful  cheer

I chanced upon three suburban maids in Lycra swimming  gear

fresh from the pool among the tombs…or fresh from the tombs to revisit earth?

Arrested now my thoughts, I passed in resurrected beauty’s birth.

My sight and mind strange tricks did play. I couldn’t believe my eyes

amidst the dead, upon green paths, I lingered on their graceful thighs.

I pedaled fast and asked the Lord: what brings such lovely damsels here?

Around I rode, then passed again. As visions surged, the heavens drew near.

A little further now they’d strayed from where I first had seen them. Then

their brightening smiles stopped time.  And so I passed them yet again…

Distracted now from holy thoughts  I mused upon their girlish faces

[Thus Paris faltered before the three, confusing goddesses with graces]

What led them thus to flit so very young  among the balmy graves?

A thousand questions surged that verged on blasphemy.  Still Paris raves

of lissome bodies on the grass, the bright-eyed smiles, the lovely lasses

naive in nylon innocence, like  Botticellian trespasses

But they were simply walking home, and took a shortcut through the grave

and they were young, but now I’m old – and a dying renaissance knave.

Take three

Early dusk graveyard:

Three nubile girls – wet swimsuits…

Or was I lapsing ?


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