Sunday, May 13, 2007

A fetish from long ago

Great former love, 'The Evil One', had strikingly attractive hands - or so I thought. Funny the things we choose to fixate on, in regard to a loved one. They looked particularly fine in this pair of Italian gloves she used to like to wear, when I first met her, during London's damp and chill winter months. She told me she had bought them some years earlier, on a trip to Florence (apparently, Florence is the centre of glove-making in Italy; or so she told me; I hadn't previously been aware of that). And she was fretting that they were starting to wear thin, so rationed the occasions on which she would put them on. I fantasised about taking a holiday in Florence together with her, so that I could buy her a replacement pair.

Hence this little thing - another of my 'instant' poems, and probably the most romantic I have ever written.

The Ruin of the Florentine Glovemakers
("She had a favourite pair of gloves, you see...")

All the glovemakers in Florence, all those craftsmen
Of fine calfskin, and their fathers and their grandfathers
Since the ancient trade began, have never seen hands
Like yours. Now they shut their shops,
And urge their sons to other skills, because they know
That Perfection, once encountered, ends the dream,
Destroys the motive; that lesser hands cannot
Deserve their labour or inspire their art.

And so it is with me. I have so admired
The elegance of your hand
That I will never wish to hold another.

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