Perhaps it is all the talk about gay marriage that has me thinking about the sorry state of the penis and how marriage is no surefire cure for it.
I know there will be disagreement, the same people who groaned when they heard Mel Gibson’s line in What Women Want:
Q: Do you know the difference between a wife and a job?
A: After ten years the job still sucks.
But if this is crass, turn to poetry, where penis power is often on display.
Sometimes it is disguised, as in the final volley of the Odyssey as Odysseus’s mighty arrows that dwarf those of the suitors and win Penelope’s flagging attention. (Really? You didn’t get that?).
Sometimes, it can be quite direct, not to say blunt or probing, as in this not at all flaccid offering from the mythographer Robert Graves:
Down, wanton, down! Have you no shame
That at the whisper of Love’s name,
Or Beauty’s, presto! up you raise
Your angry head and stand at gaze?
Poor bombard-captain, sworn to reach
The ravelin and effect a breach–
Indifferent what you storm or why,
So be that in the breach you die!
Love may be blind, but Love at least
Knows what is man and what mere beast;
Or Beauty wayward, but requires
More delicacy from her squires.
Tell me, my witless, whose one boast
Could be your staunchness at the post,
When were you made a man of parts
To think fine and profess the arts?
Will many-gifted Beauty come
Bowing to your bald rule of thumb,
Or Love swear loyalty to your crown?
Be gone, have done! Down, wanton, down!
And sometimes the fate of the penis can be a religious thing, in the right hands, as in Molly Bloom’s soliloquy,
…yes when I lit the lamp because he must have come 3 or 4 times with that tremendous big red brute of a thing he has I thought the vein or whatever the dickens they call it was going to burst though his nose is not so big after I took off all my things with the blinds down after my hours dressing and perfuming and combing it like iron or some kind of a thick crowbar standing all the time he must have eaten oysters I think a few dozen he was in great singing voice no I never in all my life felt anyone had one the size of that to make you feel full up he must have eaten a whole sheep after whats the idea making us like that with a big hole in the middle of us or like a Stallion driving it up into you because thats all they want out of you with that determined vicious look in his eye I had to halfshut my eyes still he hasnt such a tremendous amount of spunk in him when I made him pull out and do it on me considering how big it is so much the better in case any of it wasnt washed out properly the last time I let him finish it in me nice invention they made for women for him to get all the pleasure but if someone gave them a touch of it themselves theyd know what I went through with Milly nobody would believe cutting her teeth too and Mina Purefoys husband give us a swing out of your whiskers filling her up with a child or twins once a year as regular as the clock always with a smell of children off her the one they called budgers or something like a nigger with a shock of hair on it Jesusjack the child is a black the last time I was there a squad of them falling over one another and bawling you couldnt hear your ears supposed to be healthy not satisfied till they have us swollen out like elephants or I dont know what supposing I risked having another not off him though still if he was married Im sure hed have a fine strong child but I dont know Poldy has more spunk in him yes …those fine young men I could see down in Margate strand bathingplace from the side of the rock standing up in the sun naked like a God or something and then plunging into the sea with them why arent all men like that thered be some consolation for a woman like that lovely little statue he bought I could look at him all day long curly head and his shoulders his finger up for you to listen theres real beauty and poetry for you I often felt I wanted to kiss him all over also his lovely young cock there so simple I wouldnt mind taking him in my mouth if nobody was looking as if it was asking you to suck it so clean and white he looks with his boyish face I would too in 1/2 a minute even if some of it went down what its only like gruel or the dew theres no danger besides hed be so clean compared with those pigs of men I suppose never dream of washing it from I years end to the other the most of them only thats what gives the women the moustaches Im sure itll be grand if I can only get in with a handsome young poet at my age Ill throw them the 1st thing in the morning till I see if the wishcard comes out or Ill try pairing the lady herself and see if he comes out Ill read and study all I can find or learn a bit off by heart if I knew who he likes so he wont think me stupid if he thinks all women are the same and I can teach him the other part Ill make him feel all over him till he half faints under me then hell write about me lover and mistress publicly too…
Maybe someday we will all meet our Molly and the wanton will become the well-behaved. But Molly will lament that, and marriage will not make it better. Do you think?
Now you’ve gone and done it, Dr. H. You know we’re just a few days away from somebody starting a campaign to champion “Penisism.” And by the way, how come women get the regal sounding vagina and we men get the sissy sounding penis? Huh? Explain me to that!
I agree Herb – the English language makers haven’t been fair to men. You could just borrow the Song of Songs and borrow the euphenisms from there. Imagine the stag of the gazelle crazing among the lilies. And apples, and fruit generally, and mountains and valleys.
Robert Graves wrote better poems than history of myth:
Love is universal migraine,
A bright stain on the vision
Blotting out reason.
Symptoms of true love
Are leanness, jealousy,
Are omens and nightmares –
Listening for a knock,
Waiting for a sign:
For a touch of her fingers
In a darkened room,
For a searching look.
Take courage, lover!
Could you endure such pain
At any hand but hers?
Beyond migraines stain
A duality of reasons blame
A visionless love
Where knocking nightmares
Touching dark fingers
Are a painless cure
Him and her
As tantra lives
Hinduism’s mythology (as you know, I’m sure) is loaded with phallic illusions and even brute images. How refreshing. The arrow battle between Rama and Ravana in the final battle of the Ramayana (or the Mahabharata) will no longer be the same to me after you have made clear the perversion of the holy Odyssey.
North and South India have a long standing distain for each other with the Southerner Dravidians bearing the greatest cost. In retaliation (and you can imagine the Western equivalent), the Southern Dravidians claim that much of the Northern Indian Aryans’ distain is merely disguised penis envy. I thank the wonderful “Urban Dictionary” — used by all nations — for one of many phrases used to illustrate this: Chokka Lingam
Do you have examples of this from the Christian/Hebrew Bible. And I double dare you to write anything exposing similar “hidden” images in Islamic lore.