Dilemma

By Anthony Hecht 1923–2004 Anthony Hecht

“Dark and amusing he is, this handsome gallant,
           Of chamois-polished charm,
Athlete and dancer of uncommon talent—
           Is there cause for alarm
In his smooth demeanor, the proud tilt of his chin,
           This cavaliere servente, this Harlequin?

“Gentle and kindly this other, ardent but shy,
           With an intelligence
Who would not glory to be guided by—
           And would it not make sense
To trust in someone so devoted, so
           Worshipful as this tender, pale Pierrot?

“Since both of them delight, if I must choose
           I win a matchless mate,
But by that very winning choice I lose—
           I pause, I hesitate,
Putting decision off,” says Columbine,
“And while I hesitate, they both are mine.”

Source: Poetry (September 2011).

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This poem originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2011
 Anthony  Hecht

Biography

One of the leading voices of his generation, Anthony Hecht’s poetry is known for its masterful use of traditional forms and linguistic control. Extraordinarily erudite, Hecht’s verse often features allusions to French literature, Greek myth and tragedy, and English poets and poetry stretching from Wallace Stevens to John Donne. Hecht, who died in 2004, was often described as a “traditionalist.” George P. Elliott contended in the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Romantic Love, Arts & Sciences, Theater & Dance

Poetic Terms Dramatic Monologue, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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