Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Purgatory

And suppose the darlings get to Mantua, 
suppose they cheat the crypt, what next? Begin 
with him, unshaven. Though not, I grant you, a 
displeasing cockerel, there's egg yolk on his chin. 
His seedy robe's aflap, he's got the rheum. 
Poor dear, the cooking lard has smoked her eye. 
Another Montague is in the womb 
although the first babe's bottom's not yet dry. 
She scrolls a weekly letter to her Nurse 
who dares to send a smock through Balthasar, 
and once a month, his father posts a purse. 
News from Verona? Always news of war. 
  Such sour years it takes to right this wrong! 
  The fifth act runs unconscionably long.

Credit


Copyright © 1965 by Maxine Kumin, from Selected Poems: 1960-1990 by Maxine Kumin. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Author


Maxine Kumin

The author of numerous collections of poetry, Maxine Kumin received the Pulitzer Prize for her book Up Country: Poems of New England, which received the Pulitzer Prize.

Date Published: 1965-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/purgatory