“Sapphics Against Anger” by Timothy Steele

don-t-run-it-while-doing-dishes_7-ways-to-conserve-water
Angered, may I be near a glass of water;
May my first impulse be to think of Silence,
Its deities (who are they? do, in fact, they
               Exist? etc.).
XXX
May I recall what Aristotle says of
The subject: to give vent to rage is not to
Release it but to be increasingly prone
               To its incursions.
XXX
May I imagine being in the Inferno,
Hearing it asked: “Virgilio mio, who’s
That sulking with Achilles there?” and hearing
               Virgil say: “Dante,
xxx
That fellow, at the slightest provocation,
Slammed phone receivers down, and waved his arms like
A madman. What Attila did to Europe,
               What Genghis Khan did
xxxx
To Asia, that poor dope did to his marriage.”
May I, that is, put learning to good purpose,
Mindful that melancholy is a sin, though
               Stylish at present.
xxx
Better than rage is the post-dinner quiet,
The sink’s warm turbulence, the streaming platters,
The suds rehearsing down the drain in spirals
               In the last rinsing.
xxx
For what is, after all, the good life save that
Conducted thoughtfully, and what is passion
If not the holiest of powers, sustaining
               Only if mastered.
 
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