Learn More

Kenneth Slessor

(27 March 1901 – 30 June 1971 / Orange, New South Wales)

Rubens' Hell


VENUS with rosy-cloven rump
And rings of straw-bright flying hair
Looks in the glass that slaves are plying
Not for her own face floating there,
But for the sly and curious gaze
Of Rubens, through the keyhole prying.
Warm flesh of gods, by light embayed,
And drifting daemon-bones within
That sweep like music up and down
To pouts and cups of ivory skin,
Firm-valleyed croup, and swagging arm
In whose embankment bracelets drown—
Do you remain, you strokes of paint,
With Venus mocked and Rubens dead
And Beauty sold for an antique
And microscopes raised up instead?
Still are your old adherents true;
Rubens is there, if he could speak.
Rubens is there in your high room,
Rubens it is who blows his breath
To fix you laughing in the glass,
Who keeps a castle here from death
While schools go out and fashions fall
And microscopes and movements pass.
This castle-keep of joys conceived
But never sucked is Rubens' hell,
Is Rubens' limbo, cut and won
From darkness. Here he comes to dwell.
Man's heaven is the place he builds
By thoughts imagined and things done.
Some choose a paradise of gas,
And some, by pious deeds below,
The heavenly butter-hatch for flunkeys;
Who dream of nought to nothing go.
Therefore I'd sooner Rubens' hell
Than go to heaven with the donkeys.

Submitted: Thursday, April 01, 2010

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Rubens' Hell by Kenneth Slessor )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  2. The Saddest Poem, Pablo Neruda
  3. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  4. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  5. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  6. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  7. No Man Is An Island, John Donne
  8. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  10. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda

Poem of the Day

poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti

A little while a little love
The hour yet bears for thee and me
Who have not drawn the veil to see
If still our heaven be lit above.
Thou merely, at the day's last sigh,
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. A Glowing Morning, Rohit Sapra
  2. सबका चहेता तो रहा हूँ sabka chahetaa, hasmukh amathalal
  3. A moment (Rubliw), Gert Strydom
  4. सबका चहेता तो रहा हूँ sabka chahetaa, hasmukh amathalal
  5. Real strength, gajanan mishra
  6. When I admire you (Rubliw), Gert Strydom
  7. ETC2, shuvo chakraborty
  8. A falling leaf, Manthra Hariharan
  9. Christmas Invite, Francisco R. Albano
  10. My Lord, abdulrazak aralimatti
[Hata Bildir]