Art, Humour & Poetry

Let’s briefly imagine

Let’s, briefly, presuppose you hadn’t fled,

Hadn’t frozen in the headlights of my interest,

Then dashed off, in your maidenly discomfort,

Seeking the river, turning into this laurel.

Let’s briefly imagine, as I kiss the trembling

Bark of your arboreal mutation,

That we’d spoken, at the dinner I’d proposed,

Of mutual constraints and all life’s ironies.

I might have called you Merline, as Rilke called

His artist muse, young Baladine;

I might have spoken of the Duino Elegies

And how the Earth’s transformed. Let’s just imagine.


This article was originally published in the June 2021 edition (vol. 121) of Australian Rationalist.

Photo by Eugene Triguba on Unsplash


About Paul Monk

Dr Paul Monk is a public intellectual, poet, former senior intelligence analyst and consultant in applied cognitive science. He is the author of a dozen books, including 'The West in a Nutshell: Foundations, Fragilities, Futures' (2009), 'Dictators and Dangerous Ideas' (2018), his breakout book of poetry 'The Three Graces: Companionship, Discretion, Passion' (2022) and 'Thunder From the Silent Zone: Rethinking China' (2nd updated edition 2023). He is a fellow of the Institute for Law and Strategy (London and New York) and a fellow of the Rationalist Society of Australia.

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