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David Ziff

David Ziff lives in Baton Rouge, FL

By Any Standard

By any standard an unworthy start --
you wanted me and, yes, I wanted you;
it would just be a one-night stand, we knew,

all physical and nothing from the heart.
We would sate our passion and then depart,
there wasn’t time for flowers or to woo,

the next morning just good-bye and thank you,
no promises or glib till death do us part.
Nothing good could come from such a rendezvous,

something so devoid of subtlety and art,
certainly nothing permanent or true -
foolishness had doomed us from the start.

We violated every rule and taboo ....
yet love beat all the odds,
                                       didn’t it, sweetheart?

Love Rediscovered

What starts enchantingly as a fling,
or else results from planning and commitment
and culminates in a relationship or ring,
ends in unhappiness and discontent.
Our expectations fail explosively
or worse, in slow, unsavory decay,
in stultifying pain emotionally ....
I always thought it had to be that way -

until you took this arrant fool to school
and I discovered what I had missed,
devotion and affection’s golden rule:
belief in you before we ever kissed.
I flourished under your loving tutelage,
found happiness again in middle age.


Our love still burns as fiercely as ever
through such milestones as tin, lace and crystal,
in your eyes I’m as handsome and clever,
to me you never left the pedestal.

I had been warned that love would diminish
with time, as iron rusts, mountains erode,
that close proximity would impoverish
desire, that understanding would corrode -

but they were wrong, did not anticipate
the timeless power of affinity,
that true affection could rejuvenate

and joy grow from familiarity;
quite wrong who claimed that we, perforce, would fail,
that loving vows would be of no avail.

Good and Evil

Gorgeous tail coverts would boldly unfold,
erectile feathers suddenly appear,
exploding in resplendent green and gold,
the type long coveted as souvenir.

We never knew when they’d be in the mood,
turn afternoons into a shimmering dance,
transforming drabness into pulchritude
and dramatize their instincts for romance.

The others, though, a different story,
malevolent, wing-flapping, hissing, mean -
to young minds one attack we’d be gory,

limbs slashed and bloodied, victims of their spleen.
The geese and peacocks were the two extremes,
one evil, one embodiment of dreams.


They proved to even a tender mind
that opposites may indeed attract
but not with people, there agreements bind
and form the basis of amiable contact.

Though light and water are the litmus test
for much of life, the human equivalent
of love and touch and, what we do best,
solicitude and succor, can be absent

yet somehow they could muddle through,
survive the death of tolerance and love
through each repeating Waterloo,
lavish on us what they deprived themselves of.

I never saw them hold hands or kissing,
and guessed that something vital must be missing.

Copyright © 1999. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Duplication of this poetry and/or art without permission of the author/artist is forbidden under copyright law. Please ask permission if you wish to use for non-commercial purposes
  Big Cats in Snow Tuesday, July 11, 2000