Poem: My Inner Polonius’s Advice to My Inner Laertes at the Dawn of a New Romance | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
My blessing with thee!
And these few precepts
In thy memory
See thou inscribe:

This above all—
To thine own self be true.
But be discreet in its display,
Given thy long list
Of shortcomings.

And these few things as well:
Be in the now,
But never forget thee or deny—
Indeed be ever school-ed by—
The annals of affairs gone awry
That whirl wrathfully in thy wake;
Be objective,
But not so removed
That thou failst to be ready
Should her temperature soar
And her petticoat plummet;
But prithee, till that plummy day,
Neither embargo her nor a lecher be;
Have a sense of self
And stay centered,
Yet (though paradox it may seem)
Be not self-centered;
Be strong,
But not controlling;
Be ever discerning,
But never disdaining;
Be supportive,
But collude not
In self-deception;
Be frequently light,
But never lightweight
(Not that, conversely, she’s
Looking for Mr. Gabardine);
Be vulnerable,
But not needy;
Be impulsive,
But not stupid
(To wit: Shower thy
Be-sweated caresses
And sopping kisses
Lavishly upon her,
But keep thy drool
In a private tub);
When couply chewing,
Whether it be the fat
Or the bone of contention,
Never leave the table
With thy mouths still full;
Let thy head have
A voice equal to hers
At all mediations,
But let thy heart
Do the listening;
Wear that heart
As openly as thou darest—
But nobly on thy chest,
Like a golden medal,
Not showily on thy sleeve,
Like a gaudy cuff link.

But hark: She beckons!
Thy opportunities abound,
And my importunities
Must but bore. So,
To put the c on the arc:
If to thine own self
And she to her own
Thou both be true,
And if each the other’s self
Holds in honest esteem,
It must follow—
As the knight the dame,
The dame the knight—
Thou canst not then
Be false to one another.

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