Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name

When I came upon this context for the famous poem by Lord Alfred Douglas, I loved how it stood in, rather elegantly, for the scene which couldn't really have been published in 1914, when "Desert Dreamers" by Patrick Weston (the pseudonym of Gerald Bernard Francis Hamilton) was released. Here's an excerpt from Chapter 7 (the poem begins chapter 8):

"Too late!" murmured Julian; but the cry was hardly heard in the intensity of the moment.
The scent of mimosa was everywhere. Mimosa!
In after years Julian never allowed any one to bring that scent into his house. But upstairs a little shrine was always decorated with mimosa blossom.
Too late! He had gone down the dangerous path and had crossed - crossed to the other side.
Too late!
The bark of a desert dog brought him for a moment to his senses, but only for a moment.
The warm body at his side, the fire in his heart, set his pulses tingling. The blood coursed like fire through his veins.
With a cry of resignation to fate, with a cry of joy or rather of sorrow ended, he drew Tayeb to him; and, as there is a God in heaven, those two souls became united in that one sacred moment.
And all about them, all around them, hung the stillness of the desert.

Chapter 8

He said "My name is Love."
Then straight the first did turn himself to me
And cried, "He lieth, for his name is Shame,
But I am Love, and I was wont to be
Alone in this fair garden, till he came
Unasked by night; I am true Love, I fill
The hearts of boy and girl with mutual flame."
Then, sighing, said the other, "Have they will,
I am the Love that dare not speak its name."
-Lord Alfred Douglas

The line that separated Arab from European, master from servant, had been rudely snapped. Julian and Tayeb became as one.*

It's pretty wonderful that our Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Queer and Questioning Love can speak its name today.

And yet, like the gospel song goes, you need to know where you've been to know where you're going. Sing it, Queen Latifah!

*I found this on pg. 424-429 of "Pages Passed From Hand To Hand: The Hidden Tradition of Homosexual Literature in English from 1748 to 1914" edited by Mark Mitchell and David Leavitt.

Oh, and if the name "Lord Alfred Douglas" sounds familiar - he was Oscar Wilde's lover. (You can go here for more on their love affair and the famous trial.)

If you'd like to contribute early to tomorrow's Poetry Friday celebration, you can go ahead and add your link and story about your contribution in comments, and I'll add it to the Poetry Friday Post once it goes up (12:01 AM Pacific Time.) Thanks, and



Stacy Nockowitz said...

Here is my link for Poetry Friday! Thanks for collecting the poems this week. This is my first time contributing, and I'm so excited!

My blog is Some Novel Ideas. Come by anytime!

Stacy Nockowitz

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee,
Thanks for hosting.

I'm in with some poems from incarcerated teens.

Poems by incarcerated teens

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

This comment was posted at a different location on this blog on 2/11/10 at 1:35pm:

Hi Lee,

Thanks for hosting Poetry Friday. I'd like to submit my post for tomorrow.

Poetry for Black History Month featuring Marilyn Nelson's poem "1905"

Thanks and let me know if you have any questions.