Poem VAR #67

Success is counted sweetest
by those who ne’er succeed
to comprehend a nectar
requires sorest need

Not one of all the purple host
who took the flag today
can tell the definition
so clear of victory

As he defeated dying
on whose forbidden ear
the distant strains of triumph
break agonized and clear

Subject: A female statement on frustration in intercourse.


HWL's Comment

Date of writing: 1979

Comment: If it is a touchstone of true poetry to give universal expression to individual suffering, this is one of her earliest true poems. It is a dirge to defeat in all its forms and could be recited or sung even by entire nations that have lost a war. It deserves the epithet “great”. For all its simplicity, it has been recognized for it.

It also is an exemplary sample of the doublepoem and how it works. In the first stanza we find only alignments toward a sexual meaning. The reader is apparently supposed to now this after a brief acquaintance with her poetry. “Success”, “nectar”, “sorest need” must be polarized toward a meaning in sexual intercourse. It is here, unmistakably, requitement for the male, frustration for the female. Once so used, these alignments gain symbolic significance in the doublelanguage and must henceforth retain it.

The second stanza introduces true symbols which become gold coin in the currency of the secret language, that is: they attained a precise meaning in reference to genitalia and/or functions in the sexual intercourse. Here, the “purple host” is an aroused, inflamed vagina “who takes the flag today”; that is: she takes the ejaculating penis in the present intercourse. “Flag” is basic symbol for that because it graphically stands for a pole from which something flutters. And since “day” stands for the male portion of the intercourse, “today” can be taken for “the present intercourse”, though not necessarily so. “Victory” is alignment again, but it attains symbol status in the poetry.

The third stanza makes again use of alignment terms only. Of these “ear” (intravaginal listening to inner sounds of the act),“distant” (the out of reach glans in it), and the “strains of triumph” or rather “triumph” only, also become symbols in further development of the doublelanguage. In particular here, the “strains of triumph” mean the sounds of semen quanta striking the inner wall of the contraceptive. The “ear” is a “forbidden” one, because its desire is to hear these sounds directly (thus “ear” is vaginal cup). To be explained is “he defeated dying”. It means vagina “dead without the dying” or “dying not in exhausting orgasm but in frustration”.