So to some extent, this is a kind of revenge poem. I also think of it as an ars poetica. It seems to be autobiographical, as first person poems often do, but by the time the reader gets to the end of the poem, hopefully he or she realizes that there has been some fabrication going on. That's what the wife does; that's what the poet does.
( Diane Lockward, da una intervista con Valparaiso Poetry Review)
My Husband Discovers Poetry by Diane Lockward
Because my husband would not read my poems,
I wrote one about how I did not love him.
In lines of strict iambic pentameter,
I detailed his coldness, his lack of humor.
It felt good to do this.
Stanza by stanza, I grew bolder and bolder.
Towards the end, struck by inspiration,
I wrote about my old boyfriend,
a boy I had not loved enough to marry
but who could make me laugh and laugh.
I wrote about a night years after we parted
when my husband's coldness drove me from the house
and back to my old boyfriend.
I even included the name of a seedy motel
well-known for hosting quickies.
I have a talent for verisimilitude.
In sensuous images, I described
how my boyfriend and I stripped off our clothes,
got into bed, and kissed and kissed,
then spent half the night telling jokes,
many of them about my husband.
I left the ending deliberately ambiguous,
then hid the poem away
in an old trunk in the basement.
You know how this story ends,
how my husband one day loses something,
goes into the basement,
and rummages through the old trunk,
how he uncovers the hidden poem
and sits down to read it.
But do you hear the strange sounds
that floated up the stairs that day,
the sounds of an animal, its paw caught
in one of those traps with teeth of steel?
Do you see the wounded creature
at the bottom of the stairs,
his shoulders hunched over and shaking,
fist in his mouth and choking back sobs?
It was my husband paying tribute to my art.
Poichè mio marito non voleva leggere le mie poesie,
ne scrissi una dove dicevo di non averlo amato.
In versi di puri pentametri giambici,
descrissi la sua freddezza, la sua mancanza di umorismo.
Mi ha fatto sentire bene.
Stanza dopo stanza, divenni sempre più audace.
Verso la fine, spinta dalla ispirazione,
scrissi di un mio antico fidanzato,
un ragazzo che non avevo amato tanto da sposarlo
ma che mi faceva ridere ridere ridere.
Scrissi di quella notte anni dopo esserci lasciati,
quando la freddezza di mio marito mi spinse fuori di casa
nelle braccia del mio antico fidanzato.
Inclusi anche il nome di uno squallido motel
famoso per le sue camere ad ore.
Ho un vero talento per la verosimiglianza.
In immagini sensuali, descrissi
di come il mio amante ed io ci togliemmo i vestiti di dosso,
andammo a letto e ci baciammo e ribaciammo
passando la notte a raccontarci barzellette
molte proprio su mio marito.
Lasciai il finale deliberatamente ambiguo,
poi nascosi la poesia
in un vecchio baule nel seminterrato.
Ora sai come la storia finisce,
come mio marito perse un giorno qualcosa,
andò nel seminterrato,
e frugando nel vecchio baule,
scoperta la poesia nascosta,
si sedette a leggerla.
Ma senti il rumore strano
che salì quel giorno dalle scale,
il rumore di un animale con la zampa
stretta nella tagliola con denti d'acciaio?
Vedi la ferita creatura
in fondo alle scale,
le spalle curve tremanti,
il pugno tra i denti per soffocare i singhiozzi?
Era mio marito che pagava il suo tributo alla mia arte.
Diane Lockward earned her bachelor's degree from Elmira College and her master's from Montclair State University. She is the author of four full-length books of poetry: The Uneaten Carrots of Atonement (2016), Temptation by Water (2010), What Feeds Us (2006), recipient of the Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize, and Eve's Red Dress (2003), all from Wind Publications. She is also the author of a poetry craft book, The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop (2013), and two chapbooks, Eve Argues Against Perfection (1997) and Greatest Hits: 1997-2010 (2012). Her poems have been published in Prairie Schooner, Spoon River Poetry Review, Poet Lore, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. Her poems have also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer's Almanac. She is the recipient of a Poetry Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and serves as the Poet Laureate of West Caldwell, New Jersey. She founded the Poetry Festival: A Celebration of Literary Journals in 2004 and has served as its director for twelve years. A former high school English teacher at Millburn High School, she has also worked as a poet-in-the-schools for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. She lives in northern New Jerse.