Paradise was hardly what Psyche
With her bleeding blackberries and nervous orgasms
Could have foretold, enjoyed,
And renounced for the sake of some querulous abstraction
Designed to keep us unhappy but alive.
Call it civilization. Call our disobedience instinctive.
Or say we obeyed an angry muse, who ordered us to dance.
“Or else?” I asked. She sighed before answering.
“Or else a dismal armchair will be your lot
With chamber music your sole narcotic—music that will make
You face your former self, and grieve over incidents
Scarcely recalled, and eat without pleasure, and drink
Without thirst, and dread what shall never come to pass.”
In the revelation of our nakedness, we danced.
--from Mythologies; David Lehman