4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Robert Graves: among the best poetry in English literature

A novelist, and classicist best known for I, Claudius (1934) and its sequel, Claudius the God

  • Call It a Good Marriage
  • Call it a good marriage — 
  • For no one ever questioned 
  • Her warmth, his masculinity, 
  • Their interlocking views; 
  • Except one stray graphologist 
  • Who frowned in speculation 
  • At her h’s and her s’s, 
  • His p’s and w’s.
  • Though few would still subscribe
  • To the monogamic axiom 
  • That strife below the hip-bones 
  • Need not estrange the heart, 
  • Call it a good marriage: 
  • More drew those two together, 
  • Despite a lack of children, 
  • Than pulled them apart.
  • Call it a good marriage: 
  • They never fought in public,
  • They acted circumspectly 
  • And faced the world with pride; 
  • Thus the hazards of their love-bed 
  • Were none of our damned business — 
  • Till as jurymen we sat on
  • Two deaths by suicide.
  • The Naked and the Nude
  • For me, the naked and the nude 
  • (By lexicographers construed 
  • As synonyms that should express 
  • The same deficiency of dress 
  • Or shelter) stand as wide apart 
  • As love from lies, or truth from art.
  • Lovers without reproach will gaze 
  • On bodies naked and ablaze; 
  • The Hippocratic eye will see
  • In nakedness, anatomy; 
  • And naked shines the Goddess when 
  • She mounts her lion among men.
  • The nude are bold, the nude are sly 
  • To hold each treasonable eye. 
  • While draping by a showman’s trick 
  • Their dishabille in rhetoric, 
  • They grin a mock-religious grin 
  • Of scorn at those of naked skin.
  • Dead Cow Farm
  • An ancient saga tells us how 
  • In the beginning the First Cow 
  • (For nothing living yet had birth 
  • But Elemental Cow on earth) 
  • Began to lick cold stones and mud: 
  • Under her warm tongue flesh and blood 
  • Blossomed, a miracle to believe: 
  • And so was Adam born, and Eve. 
  • Here now is chaos once again, 
  • Primeval mud, cold stones and rain.
  • Here flesh decays and blood drips red, 
  • And the Cow’s dead, the old Cow’s dead.
Robert Graves

Robert Graves (1895-1985) was a British poet, novelist and classicist best known for his two novels about the unlikely yet unexpectedly efficient fourth Roman Emperor, I, Claudius (1934) and its sequel, Claudius the God (1985). While his most lasting accomplishment may be these novels, his poetry has also been ranked among the best produced in English literature. In a celebrated scandal of the time, Graves formed a manage-trois with his then-wife, artist Nancy Nicholson, and American poet Laura Riding, before the situation took its toll on the marriage and Graves moved to America with Riding. Graves also produced a number of translations, including critically and popularly acclaimed renditions of Suetonius’s “scandalogue,” The Twelve Caesars, and the ancient Roman novel, The Golden Ass, by Apuleius.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Celebrate the 27th James Bond film with the 6th James Bond film

No Time to Die indeed
  • Call It a Good Marriage
  • Call it a good marriage — 
  • For no one ever questioned 
  • Her warmth, his masculinity, 
  • Their interlocking views; 
  • Except one stray graphologist 
  • Who frowned in speculation 
  • At her h’s and her s’s, 
  • His p’s and w’s.
  • Though few would still subscribe
  • To the monogamic axiom 
  • That strife below the hip-bones 
  • Need not estrange the heart, 
  • Call it a good marriage: 
  • More drew those two together, 
  • Despite a lack of children, 
  • Than pulled them apart.
  • Call it a good marriage: 
  • They never fought in public,
  • They acted circumspectly 
  • And faced the world with pride; 
  • Thus the hazards of their love-bed 
  • Were none of our damned business — 
  • Till as jurymen we sat on
  • Two deaths by suicide.
  • The Naked and the Nude
  • For me, the naked and the nude 
  • (By lexicographers construed 
  • As synonyms that should express 
  • The same deficiency of dress 
  • Or shelter) stand as wide apart 
  • As love from lies, or truth from art.
  • Lovers without reproach will gaze 
  • On bodies naked and ablaze; 
  • The Hippocratic eye will see
  • In nakedness, anatomy; 
  • And naked shines the Goddess when 
  • She mounts her lion among men.
  • The nude are bold, the nude are sly 
  • To hold each treasonable eye. 
  • While draping by a showman’s trick 
  • Their dishabille in rhetoric, 
  • They grin a mock-religious grin 
  • Of scorn at those of naked skin.
  • Dead Cow Farm
  • An ancient saga tells us how 
  • In the beginning the First Cow 
  • (For nothing living yet had birth 
  • But Elemental Cow on earth) 
  • Began to lick cold stones and mud: 
  • Under her warm tongue flesh and blood 
  • Blossomed, a miracle to believe: 
  • And so was Adam born, and Eve. 
  • Here now is chaos once again, 
  • Primeval mud, cold stones and rain.
  • Here flesh decays and blood drips red, 
  • And the Cow’s dead, the old Cow’s dead.
Robert Graves

Robert Graves (1895-1985) was a British poet, novelist and classicist best known for his two novels about the unlikely yet unexpectedly efficient fourth Roman Emperor, I, Claudius (1934) and its sequel, Claudius the God (1985). While his most lasting accomplishment may be these novels, his poetry has also been ranked among the best produced in English literature. In a celebrated scandal of the time, Graves formed a manage-trois with his then-wife, artist Nancy Nicholson, and American poet Laura Riding, before the situation took its toll on the marriage and Graves moved to America with Riding. Graves also produced a number of translations, including critically and popularly acclaimed renditions of Suetonius’s “scandalogue,” The Twelve Caesars, and the ancient Roman novel, The Golden Ass, by Apuleius.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Maya Moon gives Normal Heights a chocolate bar

Minimally processed and naturally sweetened food and drinks shine at new coffee shop alternative
Next Article

San Diego Reader’s Best Of issue 2021

Joshua trees in Mission Beach, Ace Hardware in Hillcrest, the regulars at Liberty Tobacco, the unnecessity of Balboa Park, “We live on the edge of paradise”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close