Aesthetic Realism Online Library Poetry by Nancy Starrels


    Dionysia tells well of girlish downfall in the cozy, everlasting net of vanity: a net that changed to hard streetness.”

Eli Siegel
From Preface to Personal & Impersonal



    Her long red hair lies on the sidewalk shining
           in the sun:
    The sun is hot for it is noon and people on their way
           to lunch
    Suddenly stop—horrified.
    One hundred feet below the penthouse window where
           she stood,
    Oh, such a little time ago,
    Dionysia is lying now, quiet on the warm cement:
    Why does she lie there? Why is she dead?

    She laughed; she wore perfume;
    Her hair was red; she loved the snow;
    She studied French, wondered about God,
    Had fearful dreams more and more often;
    She played an excellent game of bridge.
    Why did she jump from that open window:
    Oh why, why is Dionysia dead?

    I sit near the window and see the new green leaves;
    I hear the birds as they make a mighty chirping.
    Alexander’s fur is soft and black and warm;
    He is pleased as he stalks a lazy fly.
    I do not care for these things—instead I think
    If only I had said this—if I had done that one thing;
    Something said, something written, just a word:
    If only I had said—only, only, only.

    You did not find what you were looking for;
    You did not look hard enough, did not wait long enough,
            did not find it anywhere,
    Or you would not have done this terrible thing:
    You would not have stood there at that open window
    Saying, “To hell with you, World, I’ll have no more
            of you!”
    You would not lie there, Dionysia, so quiet now
    With your long red hair on the sidewalk in the sun.

Note: Dionysia describes an intense event: a girl lying on the ground after having leapt from a building. Then there is what the event poetically stands for.

From Personal & Impersonal
© 1959 by Terrain Gallery

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