A woman said,
“There have been times, that often stretched through years,
when sex, though still in consciousness, was like
the distant moon. And there were other times,
when the act was like the sun that penetrates
and lights again the lamp that’s called desire.”
A man replied,
“Since puberty – and even from before,
when sex was like a scent I did not know,
it’s been with me, an ever-smoldering fire
that dims and brightens, rising up in flames.
It never truly dies, but waxes, wanes.”
“This varies so, from man to man – and more
between the women – that to speak as if
it is the same, by gender, may be wrong.
The sexes, they are different – but so
is each from other – and from self by age.”
And yet another,
“You speak of sex, while some have such distress
that this is furthest from their minds, besieged…
Who thinks of sex in famines or in wars,
or when we're caring for the old, the sick,
the children and their messes? Mating’s out.”
So each described this elemental urge,
as each might talk about the restless sea.
And some described the waves and others, tides –
and others spoke of variant presences…
And yet, its essence stayed, for all their talk,
for each of them, a thing of mystery.