The greatest Love and Beauty of all
Has often come down to a booty-call.
The ancient poet of Love, of course,
Was Ovid... so moved by the Lover’s ars.
From Irish shepherds and their affairs
Who piped those Londonderry airs,
To Shakespeare’s ass when Titania got him
Waking to find she loved her Bottom,
Or Ophelia, given a stern direction
To “keep in the rear of her affection,”
Prosaic ars we have a priori,
But Poetica’s ars is a posteriori.
In Duchamp and his nude descending stairs,
You have your cubist derrieres;
For the more well-rounded, we suggest
The muscled bustles Rubenesque,
The more the better, as Keats would prove
To his Fanny Brawne... “More happy love!”
And the sensitive Hefner turned bums to gold
With the tasteful ars of the centerfold.
But Archie Macleish, the old dissembler,
Writes the poem we most remember,
Like so many hardy Harvard stallions,
With his “globed fruit” and “dumb ass-medallions”;
He knows full well what the reader perceives
In that “moon behind the winter leaves.”
So be bold about it. No need to peek,
Creeping through bushes. Imagine the cheek!
The mote in a voyeur’s eye is well known,
But first pluck those broad beams from your own.
And forgive the male artist one tiny quirk
If he gets a little behind in his work.
Then praise “Ars Poetica,” so rudely maligned!
What?! Really? “Art”? Oh. Never mind.