Eros, 1911

As Freud coined the term,
Eigenbeziehung to encompass
the attachment to self, you

were slouched naked on a chair,
thighs ajar, in the first stages
of ecstatic discovery. Though

your face was not defiant, but soft,
simian, awash in hidden, Victorian
guilt. Though your body was limp,

unformed, excluded from feminine
reverence. Though your mind had not yet
crystallized the death-instinct. Still your sex

listened to the times, reared against them
its red and lambent weapon. Its honest organ.
In the throes of Sophocles’ frantic and savage

master, you learned to counter blindness:
stoking a slow-burning fire, immense
and fixed in the apex.

Questions and Answers

What inspired “Eros, 1911”?

This poem was inspired by a painting that Egon Schiele did of himself masturbating in an era when such practices were thought of as shameful.

What poetic techniques did you use in “Eros, 1911”?

I used a triplet form with enjambments. I also used half-rhyme, alliteration and other sound techniques.

This poem “Eros, 1911” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 154 (Autumn 1997): 51.

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