Reader unmov’d and Reader unshaken, Reader unseduc’dand unterrified, through the long-loud and the sweet-stillI creep toward you. Toward you, I thistle and I climb.
I crawl, Reader, servile and cervine, through this blankseason, counting—I sleep and I sleep. I sleep,Reader, toward you, loud as a cloud and deaf, Reader, deaf
as a leaf. Reader: Why don’t you turnpale? and, Why don’t you tremble? Jaded, staidReader, You—who can read this and not even
Excerpt from the beautiful, strange poem “sweet reader, flanneled and tulled” by Olena Kalytiak Davis, found via an article on The Poetry Foundation, which suggests an alternative reading: swap “reader” for “lover” for a new perspective on this strange and seductive poem. And a word of advice: you really should read it aloud. It rolls around in your mouth, sometimes fluid and smooth, sometimes twisty and thorny, words running together and hard to get out. Reading poetry is the perfect activity for a rainy Sunday. Take a moment and savor it.
Image: Embroidery and drawing by Spanish artist Ana Teresa Barboza. I’ve featured her art on my blog before, but I couldn’t find a better image for this poem—the lion-girl just fits the scary seduction theme so well, I think.