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To the Poet George Wither on Love
by Frederick W. Bassett

          If she be not so to me,
         What care I how fair she be?

How clever you were George Wither
never to anguish over love,
to control your heart like a logician

doing dry proofs in a cloistered study,
to care or not to care for any woman
with a rational switch in your mind.

I, not so prepared for Ann McMurphy,
embraced her love with total abandon,
assuming the clocks were set for life.

But she, with a consumer's taste,
left me bobbing like an apple core
in the wake of her thirteenth summer.

Unable to topple its golden idol,
my dumb heart waited for her mythic return
as the years slipped slowly toward manhood.

Oh, you were clever George Wither
to shield yourself from such a woman,
and yet I marvel that I do not envy you.


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