Poems about jealousy


(Jealousy playlist) **Art: Jealousy by Natalia Khromykh, 2010 (source)

“What Gyges So Golden” by Archilochus (680-645 BC; Paros, Greece; lyric poet)
– from Sappho’s Lyre: Archaic Lyric and Women Poets of Ancient Greece

What Gyges so golden has doesn’t matter to me,
envy never yet seized me, I’m not jealous
of the gods’ work, nor do I lust for high tyranny:
these things are far from my eyes

“Jealousy” by Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge (b. 1947; Beijing, China; playwright; Language School, New York School of poetry) – from Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology

nature never provides a border for us, of infinite elements irregularly but flexibly integrated, like the rhythm between fatigue and relief of accommodation, or like a large apartment. Now, the construction is not the structure of your making love to me. The size of your body on mine does not equal your weight or buoyancy, like fireworks on a television screen, or the way an absent double expresses inaccuracy between what exists and does not exist in the room of particular shape, volume, etc., minute areas and inferred lines we are talking about. You have made a vow to a woman not to sleep with me. For me, it seemed enough that love was a spiritual exercise in physical form and what was seen is what it was, looking down from the twelfth floor, our arms resting on pillows on the windowsill. (…)

“Bitcherel” by Eleanor Brown (Wasington, DC; essayist, short-story writer, writing workshop teacher) – from Making for Planet Alice: New Woman Poets

You ask what I think of your new acquisition;
and since we are now to be ‘friends’,
I’ll strive to the full to cement my position
with honesty. Dear – it depends.

It depends upon taste, which must not be disputed;
for which of us does understand
why some like their furnishings pallid and muted,
their cookery wholesome, but bland? (…)

“Chillen Get Shoes” by Sterling A. Brown (1901-1989; Washington, DC, US; professor, folklorist, literary critic) – from American Poetry; The Twentieth Century, Vol. 2: E.E. Cummings to May Swenson

Hush little Lily,
Don’t you cry;
You’ll get your silver slippers
Bye and bye.

Moll wears silver slippers
With red heels,
And men come to see her
In automobiles. (…)

“My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning (1812 – 1889; Camberwell London, UK; playwright)
– from Committed to Memory: 100 Best Poems to Memorize

She had
A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, ‘t was all one! My favour at her breast,
The dropping of the daylight in the West,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace—all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush, at least. She thanked men,—good! but thanked
Somehow—I know not how—as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? (…)

“To Aurelius” by Catullus (84-54 BC; Verona, Italy; neoteric style of poetry)
– from The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature

Aurelius, father of hungers,
you desire to fuck,
not just these, but whoever my friends
were, or are, or will be in future years.
not secretly: now at the same time as you joke
with one, you try clinging to him on every side.
In vain: now my insidious cock
will bugger you first.
And, if you’re filled, I’ll say nothing:
Now I’m grieving for him: you teach
my boy, mine, to hunger and thirst.
So lay off: while you’ve any shame,
or you will end up being buggered.

“The Other Side of a Mirror” by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge (1861-1907; London, England; novelist) – from Victorian Women Poets: An Anthology

I sat before my glass one day,
And conjured up a vision bare,
Unlike the aspects glad and gay,
That erst were found reflected there –
The vision of a woman, wild
With more than womanly despair.
Her hair stood back on either side
A face bereft of loveliness.
It had no envy now to hide
What once no man on earth could guess.
It formed the thorny aureole
Of hard, unsanctified distress. (…)

{see also “Jealousy”:’The myrtle bush grew shady / Down by the ford.’ of the 1967 production of Hallelujah, Baby! produced by the Martin Beck Theatre (now the Al Hirschfeld Theatre) (source)

“Not Mine” from the musical Hallelujah, Baby! by Betty Comden (1917-2006; New York, US; actress, screenwriter) & Adolph Green (1914-2002; New York, US; playwright) (Allen Case rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

See her eager face,
Her charm,
Her grace,
Her glance,
Her stance,
Her style,
Walks nice,
Talks nice,
Suits me fine.
Trouble is
The girl is his, not mine. (…)

“J is for Jealousy” by W.H. (William Henry) Davies (1871-1940; Monmouthshire, Wales; writer, tramp) – from Twentieth Century Anglo-Welsh Poetry

I praised the daisies on my lawn,
And then my lady mowed them down.
My garden stones, improved by moss,
She moved — and that was Beauty’s loss.
When I adored the sunlight, she
Kept a bright fire indoors for me.
She saw I loved the birds, and that
Made her one day bring home a cat.
She plucks my flowers to deck each room,
And make me follow where they bloom.
Because my friends were kind and many,
She said — ‘What need has Love of any?’ (…)

{see also “No-Man’s Wood” }

“At Ithaca” by Hilda Doolittle (1886-1961; Pennsylvania, US; novelist, memoirist)
– from The Columbia Anthology of American Poetry

Over and back,
the long waves crawl
and track the sand with foam;
night darkens, and the sea
takes on that desperate tone
of dark that wives put on
when all their love is done.

Over and back,
the tangled thread falls slack,
over and up and on;
over and all is sewn;
now while I bind the end,
I wish some fiery friend
would sweep impetuously
these fingers from the loom. (…)

“To My Rival” by “Ephelia” (Mary Stewart? 1622-1685, England; duchess)
– from Love’s Witness: Five Centuries of Love Poetry by Women

Since you dare Brave me, with a Rivals Name,
You shall prevail, and I will quite my Claime:
For know, proud Maid, I Scorn to call him mine,
Whom thou durst ever hope to have made thine:
Yet I confess, I lov’d him once so well,
His presence was my Heav’n, his absence Hell:
With gen’rous excellence I fill’d his Brest,
And in sweet Beauteous Forms his Person drest;
For him I did heaven, and its Pow’r despise,
And onely lived by th’Influence of his Eyes: (…)

{see also “To J.G. On the News of His Marriage”}

“Sexual Jealousy” by Carol Frost (b. 1948; Massachusetts, US; writing professor)
– from Poems for a Small Planet: Contemporary American Nature Poetry

Think of the queen mole who is unequivocal,
exuding a scent to keep the other females neuter
and bringing forth the colony’s only babies, hairless and pink in the
of her tunneled chamber. She may chew a pale something, a root,
find it tasteless, drop it for the dreary others to take away, then (…)

“Ghazal 25” (Urdu) by Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797-1869; Agra, India)
– from East Window: The Asian Translations

 maḥram nahīṉ hai tū hī navāhā-yi rāz ka
yāṉ varnah jo ḥijāb hai, pardah hai sāz ka
rang-i shikastah, ṣubḥ-i bahār-i naz̤ārah hai

yih vaqt hai shakuftan-i gul-hā-yi nāz ka
tū aur sū-yi g̱ẖer naz̤ar-hā-yi tez tez
maiṉ aur dukh teri muzhah-hā-yu darāz ka

ṣarfah hai ẓabt̤-i āh meṉ merā, vagarnah maiṉ
t̤uʻmah hūṉ aik hi nafas-i jāṉ-gudāz ka
heṉ baskih josh-i bādah se shīshe uchal rahe

har goshah-yi basāt̤ hai sar, shīshah-bāz ka
kāvish kā dil kary hai taqāẓā kih hay hanūz
nāḵẖun kā qarẓ us girah-i nīm-bāz ka

tārāj-i kāvish-i g̱ẖam-i hijrāṉ huā Asad
sīnah kih thā dafīnah guhar-hā-yi rāz ka

If she ever decides to show me kindness
she remembers our past and shies away

She angers quickly I love her madly
but I’ll keep these thoughts brief as love

She will never trust me when I am weak
the question she can’t ask I can’t answer

This love a despair I fight to contain
but even the thread of my thoughts has loosened

There is no church where she appears
it’s unbearable to imagine eyes upon her

“Horse” by Louise Glück (b. 1943; New York, US; poetry consultant, essayist)
– from The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women: the Tradition in English

What does the horse give you
That I cannot give you?

I watch you when you are alone,
When you ride into the field behind the dairy,
Your hands buried in the mare’s
Dark mane.

Then I know what lies behind your silence:
Scorn, hatred of me, of marriage. Still,
You want me to touch you; you cry out
As brides cry, but when I look at you I see
There are no children in your body.
Then what is there? (…)

“Forty Something” by Robert Hass (b. 1941; California, US; essayist, translator) – from The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, Vol. 2

She says to him, musing, “If you ever leave me,
and marry a younger woman and have another baby,
I’ll put a knife in your heart.” They are in bed,
so she climbs onto his chest, and looks directly
down into his eyes. “You understand? Your heart.”

“Deich von der guoten schiet” (When I parted from my good) by Friedrich von Hausen (1150-1190; Rhineland, Germany) – from German Poetry; From the Beginnings to 1750

 Deich von der guoten schiet
und ich zir niht ensprach
alsô mir wære liep,
des lîde ich ungemach.
daz liez ich durch die diet
von der mir nît geschach.
ich wünsche ir anders niet,
wan der die helle brach,
der füege ir wê unt ach.

When I parted from my Good
and did not tell her
how she was dear to me,
I suffer for it now.
I left it out because of all those hypocrites
whose envy ruined my pleasure.
I wish them nothing else
but that the One who harried Hell
make them hurt and yell. (…) Burial at Thebes by Seamus Heaney, produced by the Globe Theatre in London, 2008 (Photo by Robbie Jack/Corbis) (Source)

“A Dream of Jealousy” by Seamus Heaney (County Londonderry, Ireland; playwright, translator, lecturer) – from The Norton Anthology of Poetry

Walking with you and another lady
In wooded parkland, the whispering grass
Ran its fingers through our guessing silence
And the trees opened into a shady
Unexpected clearing where we sat down.
I think the candour of the light dismayed us.
We talked about desire and being jealous,
Our conversation a loose single gown
Or a white picnic tablecloth spread out
Like a book of manners in the wilderness.
‘Show me,’ I said to our companion, ‘what
I have much coveted, your breast’s mauve star.’
And she consented. O neither these verses
Nor my prudence, love, can heal your wounded stare.

“Who Besides You” by Bart Howard (1915-2004; Iowa, US; composer) (K. T. Sullivan rendition)
– from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

When you hear me say ‘darling’ or ‘dear’
to another man
or see me blow another man a kiss
I don’t know what you can do dear
other than
darling ask yourself this

Who besides you
could I see beside me
all alone on a tropical Isle
And who could I see
besides you, beside me
When I dream with my lips in a smile (…)

“When I Take My Sugar to Tea” by Irving Kahal (1903-1942; Pennsylvania, US; composer) (Frank Sinatra rendition)
– from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

I’m just a little “Jackie Horner”
since I met my sugar cane.
That gang of mine has been revealin’
that they’re feelin’ sore.
I left the lamp light on the corner,
for the moon in lover’s lane.
I’m doing things I never did before.

When I take my sugar to tea, all the
boys are jealous of me, ’cause I
never take her where the gang goes,
When I take my sugar to tea.  (…)

“No, No, Nora” by Gus Kahn (1886-1941; Germany / Illinois / California, US; songwriter, lyricist) (Eddie Cantor rendition)
– from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

In the apartment above me
There is the lovingest pair;
I don’t know what she has to be jealous of?
He has a face that just a mother could love!
And still I know she’s always worried
Some girl will steal her prize away;
She’s always asking, “Is there somebody else?”,
I guess it’s just to hear him say;

No, no, Nora,
Nobody but you, dear!
You know, Nora,
Yours truly is true dear!
When you accuse me of flirting,
I wouldn’t,
I couldn’t,
I love you so! (…)

“A Petition” by Frances Anne Kemble (1809-1893; London, England; playwright, memoirist, travel writer, essayist)
– from Love’s Witness: Five Centuries of Love Poetry by Women

Lady, whom my beloved loves so well!
When on his clasping arm thy head reclineth,
When on thy lips his ardent kisses dwell,
And the bright flood of burning light that shineth
In his dark eyes, is poured into thine;
When thou shalt lie enfolded to his heart
In all the trusting helplessness of love;
If in such joy sorrow can find a part,
Oh, give one sigh unto a doom like mine!
Which I would have thee pity, but not prove.
One cold, calm careless, wintry look that fell
Haply by chance one, is all that he
Ever gave my love; round that, my wild thoughts dwell
In one eternal pang of memory.

“The First Tooth” by Charles Lamb (1764-1847; London, England; writer, essayist) and Mary Lamb (1775-1834; London; writer) – from Woman Romantic Poets, 1785-1832: An Anthology

Through the house what busy joy,
Just because the infant boy
Has a tiny tooth to show!
I have got a double row,
All as white, and all as small;
Yet no one cares for mine at all.
He can say but half a word,
Yet that single sound’s preferred
To all the words that I can say
In the longest summer day.
He cannot walk, yet if he put
With mimic motion out his foot,
As if he thought he were advancing,
It’s prized more than my best dancing.

“Love Again” by Philip Larkin (1922-1985; Warwickshire, England; librarian, novelist, jazz critic) – from The Poetry of Our World: An International Anthology of Contemporary Poetry

Love again: wanking at ten past three
(Surely he’s taken her home by now?),
The bedroom hot as a bakery,
The drink gone dead, without showing how
To meet tomorrow, and afterwards,
And the usual pain, like dysentery. (…)

“Ревность” (Jealousy) by Inna Lisnianskaya (1928-2014; Azerbaijan / Russia / Israel)
– from An Anthology of Contemporary Russian Women Poets

В уходящую спину смущённо смотрю из окна…
Твоя ревность и трогательна и смешна, —
Неужели не видишь, что я и стара и страшна,
И помимо тебя никому на земле не нужна?

Ну какая тут трогательность и какой тут смех?
Ты от нашего крова, одетого в мшистый мех,
И от быта, сплошь состоящего из прорех,
Так и рвёшься, ревнуя, отвадить буквально всех.

I look out the window at the retreating back.
Your jealousy is both touching and comical.
Can’t you see I am old and scary, a witch,
and apart from you no one needs me at all!

Well, what’s so touching and funny in that?
Jealous, you’re keen to send all of them packing
away from our home, with its roof’s mossy coat,
and our life which consists entirely of sacking. (…) La Viuda Valenciana (The widow from valencia) by Lope de Vega produced by Teatres de la Generalitat (Valencia, Spain), 2009 (source) (video)

“In Santiago” by Lope de Vega Carpio (1562-1635; Madrid, Spain; playwright, novelist; Baroque movement) – from World Poetry: an Anthology of Verse from Antiquity to Our Time

En Santiago el Verde
me dieron celos,
noche tiene el día,
vengarme pienso.

Álamos del seto,
¿dónde está mi amor?
Si se fue con otro
morireme yo.

Manzanares claro,
río pequeño,
por faltarle el agua
corre con fuego.

In Santiago the green
Jealousy seized me
Night sits in the day,
I dream of vengeance.

Poplars of the thicket,
where is my love?
If she were with another
then I would die.

Clear Manzanares
Oh little river,
Empty of water,
Run full of fire.

“Sonnet” by Bernadette Mayer (b. 1945; New York, US; writer, visual artist, editor; New York School, Language School)
– from Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology

Beauty of songs your absence I should not show
How artfully I love you, can you love me?
Let’s be precise let’s abdicate decorum
You come around you often stay you hit home

Now you are knocking, you need a tylenol;
From all that comedy what will you tell?
At least you speak, I think I’d better not;
Often men and not women have to sleep (…)

“Balada” (Ballad) by Gabriela Mistral (Lucila Godoy y Alcayaga) (1889-1957; Vicuña, Chile; diplomat, teacher)
– from The Best 100 Love Poems of the Spanish Language

El pasó con otra;
yo le vi pasar.
Siempre dulce el viento
y el camino en paz.
¡Y estos ojos míseros
le vieron pasar!

Él va amando a otra
por la tierra en flor.
Ha abierto el espino;
pasa una canción.
¡Y él va amando a otra
por la tierra en flor!

He passed by with another;
I saw him pass by.
The wind was forever sweet
and the road, peaceful.
And these wretched eyes beheld him passing by!

He continues loving another
into flowery lands.
The hawthorn has bloomed;
a song slips away.
And he continues loving another
into flowery lands. (…)

“Women’s Locker Room” by Marilyn Nelson (Waniek) (b. 1946; Cleveland, Ohio, US; professor, translator, children’s book author, director of a writer’s colony)
– from Letters to America: Contemporary American Poetry on Race

The splat of bare feet on wet tile
breaks the incredible luck of my being alone in here.
I snatch a stingy towel
and sidle into the shower. I’m already soaped
by the time a white hand turns the neighboring knob.
I recognize the arm as one that flashed
for many rapid laps while I dogpaddled at the shallow end. (…)

“Captive and Able” by Hoa Nguyen (b. 1967; Vietnam; professor, magazine editor)
– from The Wisdom Anthology of North American Buddhist Poetry

Bells gathered like bells   What are
captive and able       thin clapper clapping
cast in a bell       in a jealous bell

I am a gatherer in the jealous bell
the ugly tangent cast in a race
(divergently)  I am so unfair

sometimes       believing the bells
and jealous of someone else

“For Grace, After A Party” by Frank O’Hara (1926-1966; Baltimore, Maryland, US; art curator) – from Contemporary American Poetry

You do not always know what I am feeling.
Last night in the warm spring air while I was
blazing my tirade against someone who doesn’t
me, it was love for you that set me

and isn’t it odd? for in rooms full of
strangers my most tender feelings
writhe and
bear the fruit of screaming. (…)

“Elegia 4” (Latin) by Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso) (43 BC – 17 AD; Sulmona, Italy); tr. Christopher Marlowe – from The Columbia Anthology of British Poetry

Vir tuus est epulas nobis aditurus easdem–
ultima coena tuo sit, precor, illa viro!
ergo ego dilectam tantum conviva puellam
adspiciam? tangi quem iuvet, alter erit,
alteriusque sinus apte subiecta fovebis?
iniciet collo, cum volet, ille manum?
desino mirari, posito quod candida vino
Atracis ambiguos traxit in arma viros.
nec mihi silva domus, nec equo mea membra cohaerent–
vix a te videor posse tenere manus!

Thy husband to a banquet goes with me,
Pray God it may his latest supper be,
Shall I sit gazing as a bashfull guest,
While others touch the damsell I love best?
Wilt lying under him his bosome clippe?
About thy neck shall he at pleasure skippe?
Marveile not though the faire Bride did incite
The drunken Centaures to a sodaine fight.
I am no halfe horse, nor in woods I dwell,
Yet scarse my hands from thee containe I well. (…)

“Nocturne” by Saint-John Perse (1887-1975; Guadeloupe / France / United States; diplomat) – from The Yale Anthology of Twentieth Century French Poetry

Les voici mûrs, ces fruits d’un ombrageux destin. De notre songe issus, de notre sang nourris, et qui hantaient la pourpre de nos nuits, ils sont les fruits du long souci, ils sont les fruits du long désir, ils furent nos plus secrets complices et, souvent proches de l’aveu, nous tiraient à leurs fins hors de l’abîme de nos nuits … Au feu du jour toute faveur ! Les voici mûrs et sous la pourpre, ces fruits d’un impérieux destin. Nous n’y trouvons point notre gré

Now!  they are ripe, these fruits of a jealous fate. From our dream grown, on our blood fed, and haunting the purple of our nights, they are the fruits of long concern, they are the fruits of long desire, they were our most secret accomplices and, often verging upon avowal, drew us to their ends out of the abyss of our nights…. Praise to the first dawn, now they are ripe and beneath the purple, these fruits of an imperious fate. ─We do not find our liking here. (…) for Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Harry Clarke (1919) (source)

“Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849; Boston, Massachusetts, US; writer, editor, literary critic; Romanticism movement)
– from The Oxford Book of Story Poems

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea. (…)

“Always True to You in My Fashion” from the musical Kiss Me Kate by Cole Porter (1891-1964; Indiana, US; composer, songwriter)  (Nancy Anderson rendition) – from Reading Lyrics: More than a Thousand of the Finest Lyrics from 1900 to 1975

Oh, Bill
Why can’t you behave
Why can’t you behave?
How in hell can you be jealous
When you know, baby, I’m your slave?
I’m just mad for you
And I’ll always be
But naturally…..

If a custom-tailored vet
Asks me out for something wet
When the vet begins to pet, I cry “hooray!”
But I’m always true to you, darlin’, in my fashion
Yes, I’m always true to you, darlin’, in my way (…)

“Answer to Chloe Jealous” by Matthew Prior (1664-1721; London, England; diplomat)
– from The Oxford Book of English Verse

To be vext at a trifle or two that I writ,
Your judgment at once, and my passion, you wrong:                  10
You take that for fact, which will scarce be found wit;
Ods life! must one swear to the truth of a song?

What I speak, my fair Chloe, and what I write, shows
The difference there is betwixt nature and art:
I court others in verse—but I love thee in prose;                15
And they have my whimsies—but thou hast my heart.

The God of us verse-men (you know, child) the Sun,
How after his journeys he sets up his rest:
If at morning o’er Earth ’t is his fancy to run;
At night he declines on his Thetis’ breast. (…)

“A Thousand Torments” by Mary Robinson (née Darby) (1757-1800; Bristol, England; actress, dramatist, essayist, memoirist, novelist)
– from The New Penguin Book of Romantic Poetry

A thousand torments wait on love —
The sigh, the tear, the anguished groan —
But he who never learnt to prove
A jealous pang has nothing known!

For jealousy, supreme of woe,
Nursed by distorted fancy’s power,
Can round the heart bid misery grow,
Which darkens with the lingering hour,

While shadows, blanks to reason’s orb,
In dread succession haunt the brain,
And pangs, that every pang absorb,
In wild, convulsive tumults reign. (…)

“The Arbor” (Greek) by Sappho (630 – c. 570 BC; Lesbos, Greece; lyric poet) [tr. Guy Davenport] – from World Poetry: an Anthology of Verse from Antiquity to Our Time

 phainetai moi kênos îsos theoisin
emmen’ ônêr ottis enantios toi
isdanei kai plâsion âdu phonei-
sâs upakouei

 kai gelaisâs îmeroen to m’ êmân
kardiân en stêthesin eptoaisen
ôs gar es s’ idô brokhe’ os me phônai-
s’ oud’ en et’ eikei

He seems to be a god, that man
Facing you, who leans to be close,
Smiles, and, alert and glad, listens
To your mellow voice

And quickens in love at your laughter
That stings my breasts, jolts my heart
If I dare the shock of a glance.
I cannot speak, (…)

“The Jealous Twain” by Walter Scott (1771-1832; Edinburgh, Scotland; historical novelist, playwright, civil servant)) – from The Dog in British Poetry

At cither’s feet a trusty squire,
Pandour and Camp, with eyes of fire.
Jealous, each other’s motions viewed
And scarce suppressed their ancient feud.

“The Shooting of Dan McGrew” by Robert W. Service (1874-1958; Lancashire, England; fiction writer, essayist, memoirist, Canadian Great North adventurer)
– from The Edinburgh Book of Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry

A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;
The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune;
Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,
And watching his luck was his light-o’-love, the lady that’s known as Lou.

When out of the night, which was fifty below, and into the din and the glare,
There stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks, dog-dirty, and loaded for bear.
He looked like a man with a foot in the grave and scarcely the strength of a louse,
Yet he tilted a poke of dust on the bar, and he called for drinks for the house.
There was none could place the stranger’s face, though we searched ourselves for a clue;
But we drank his health, and the last to drink was Dangerous Dan McGrew.

There’s men that somehow just grip your eyes, and hold them hard like a spell;
And such was he, and he looked to me like a man who had lived in hell;
With a face most hair, and the dreary stare of a dog whose day is done,
As he watered the green stuff in his glass, and the drops fell one by one.
Then I got to figgering who he was, and wondering what he’d do,
And I turned my head — and there watching him was the lady that’s known as Lou.  (…) 1990 Public Theater production of ‘RICHARD III’ (New York City, US) (source)

“Now is the winter of our discontent” from Richard III by William Shakespeare (1564-1616; Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, UK; playwright, actor)
– from The Oxford Book of English Verse

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute. (…)

{see also Sonnet 29: “When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes”
Sonnet 41: “Those pretty wrongs that liberty commits”
Sonnet 61: “Is it thy will thy image should keep open”
Sonnet 80: “O, how I faint when I of you do write”}

“Parody of the Other Woman” by Shen Manyuan (fl. 540, China)
– from Classical Chinese Literature: From antiquity to the Tang dynasty

Bright pearl, kingfisher plume bed drapes,
Gold leaf, sheer green silk door tapestries
Lifting now and then with the wind.
I imagine I see your charming face
At dawn when you put on your tiara,
At dark when you slip off your silk dress
Well, give yourself to Mr. Libertine!
Does love have to be selfish?

“Change” by Quincy Troupe (b. 1939; St. Louis, Missouri, US; editor, journalist, professor emeritus) – from The Poetry of Men’s Lives: An International Anthology

use to be eye would be laying there
in margaret’s lap, longside her sweet
soft thighs, on sunday mornings, sipping
champagne, sucking on her soft, open lips
drinking in the love from her moist, brown eyes
now, porter’s there, giggling, twenty month old
squirming squeals—a tiny, spitting image of me–
his eyes kissing everyone, including me, & me?
well, eye’m sitting here, apart from them
hungry, alone, in my favorite chair
watching television
& watching them, watching me

“The Grudge” by Dimitris Tsaloumas (1921-2016; Leros, Greece / Australia)
– from The Bloodaxe Book of Modern Australian Poetry

Strange that your image should occur to me
as I beat the grass for snakes in this

forsaken patch. It doesn’t seem right to me.
I have always thought your manner somewhat

too correct, but your business dealings
are of good report. Or is it the woman (…)

“Попытка ревности” (An Attempt at Jealousy) by Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941; Moscow, Russia; lyric poet, verse playwright)
– from Twentieth Century Russian Poetry

 Как живется вам с другою,-
Проще ведь?- Удар весла!-
Линией береговою
Скоро ль память отошла

Обо мне, плавучем острове
(По небу – не по водам)!
Души, души!- быть вам сестрами,
Не любовницами – вам!

Как живется вам с простою
Женщиною? Без божеств?
Государыню с престола
Свергши (с оного сошед),

How is your life with that other one?
Simpler, is it? A stroke of the oars
and a long coastline—
and the memory of me

is soon a drifting island
(not in the ocean—in the sky!)
Souls—you will be sisters—
sisters, not lovers.

How is your life with an ordinary
woman? without the god inside her?
The queen supplanted— (…)

“A Country Dance” by Charles Tennyson Turner (1808-1879; Somersby, Lincolnshire, UK; priest) – from The Oxford Book of English Verse

He has not woo’d, but he has lost his heart.
That country dance is a sore test for him;
He thinks her cold; his hopes are faint and dim;
But though with seeming mirth she takes her part
In all the dances and the laughter there,
And though to many a youth, on brief demand,
She gives a kind assent and courteous hand,
She loves but him, for him is all her care. (…)

“Frankie and Johnnie” by Unknown
– from Three Centuries of American Poetry

Frankie and Johnnie were lovers,
O, my Gawd, how they could love,
They swore to be true to each other,
As true as the stars above;
He was her man, but he done her wrong.

Frankie was a good woman,
As everybody knows,
Gave her man a hundred dollars,
To get him a suit of clothes;
He was her man, but he done her wrong. (…)

“Oh lute that I would like to see demolished!” by Unknown Afghani
– from Songs of Love and War: Afghan Woman’s Poetry

Oh lute that I would like to see demolished!
It’s me he loves,
It’s you that lies moaning in his arms.

“These women plunder my husband” by Unknown Indian
– from World Poetry: an Anthology of Verse from Antiquity to Our Time

These women plunder my husband
as if he were plums
in the bowl of a blind man.
But I can see them, clear as a cobra.

“Penny Ballad of Elvious Ricks” by Russell G. Vliet (1929-1984; Illinois / Texas, US; novelist, playwright) – from Texas in Poetry 2

Her boyfriend caught them spooning
and shot them one dark night.
Elvious fell out of the left door.
Lorena fell out of the right.

They buried her in Comfort, Texas,
and Elvious in Privelege,
stone lamb over her grave,
stone angel over his. (…) of Lady Mary Wroth holding a theorbo, 1620 (source)

“Sonnet 13: “Free from all fogs but shining fair, and clear” by Mary Wroth, Lady (1587-1651/3; Kent, England; romance writer, dramatist)
– from The Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose

Free from all fogs but shining fair, and clear
Wise in all good, and innocent in ill
Where holy friendship is esteemed dear
With truth in love, and justice in our will,

In love these titles only have their fill
Of happy life maintainer, and the mere
Defence of right, the punisher of skill,
And fraud; from whence directness doth appear. (…)

{also see Sonnet 14: “Except my heart which you bestowed before,”}

“Neighbors” by Yi Cha (b. 1966; Sichuan, China) [tr. Wang Ping and Richard Sieburth]
– from The Poetry of Men’s Lives: An International Anthology

A lesbian couple
lives next door,
by the free air of our country.
They’re more honest
and happier
than I, a bachelor scrounging every day for food.
Their wanton laughter from morning till night
makes my life miserable. (…)

“When the owl hoots” by Yi Chongbo (1693-1766; Korea)
– from The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Korean Poetry

When the owl hoots,
atop yonder Worang Rock
in the middle of each night:
“Those of old have said,
the young concubine who,
hateful and detestable,
becomes someone’s paramour, and
lures him with her
cunning wiles is cursed to
die a sudden death!” (…)

“Imitating an Ode by Sappho” by Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda
“Robert Frost’s Writing Desk” by David Graham
“The Pleasure Given by Suspicion with the Rhetoric of Crying” by Juan Ines de La Cruz”
“Ah, those lips, kissed by so many” by Mikhail Alekseievich Kuzmin
“I’ve watched a young woman fondling three strands of her own hair.” by Elaine Restifo

One thought on “Jealousy”

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