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The Secret

Ladies …

I know a little secret,
I’ll not share with other men.
It’s deep, it’s dark, its truth is stark,
Its come down millennium.

It’s so complex that a genius,
Would have to give it a rest,
Yet, so disarmingly simple.
A child could tell it best.

I first heard its whisper in the wild oats,
Whose husks had shed their seed.
The breezes hustled the golden sheaths,
Where small lizards scurried beneath.

It was told me in the cries of birds,
The scratching bark of the mallee tree.
It was told me in my lover’s embrace,
When we kissed our anniversary.

The secret came from the other side,
Of the wide, vast universe.
But it really started right here and now,
In the confines of this Earth.

It is nothing strange or unusual,
But it can never be told.
It is as young as a first desire,
As a drama about to unfold,

And …

As needed and as fought for,
As the last breath of the old.
The secret was known to those,
That first built ancient Athens town,
That sculptured the mighty Empire of Rome.
And then in anger tore both down.
It was known to Cleopatra,
When as concubine she went to Caesar
But then did, in the time of anarchy,
Present as Queen to Marc Antony.
It was sought by Van Gogh’s sad postman,
His crows in a wheaten field,
It was held in the breast of Manet’s
Absinthe Drinker’s desolate gaze.
It is a hunger never satiated,
A thirst never quenched.
A vein to mine as rich as Croesus,
Yet a pauper would hold more wealth.

But …

It is denied to the cruel and greedy,
Those seekers of mammon and of wealth.
For it can be seen in their gold and silver,
Their envy and their pelf.
That there, at the base of their every building,
Be it of of marble or Platinum.
Lay the broken, twisted bodies,
Of abandoned, homeless humans.
So they will never be rewarded,
With it’s velvet glove of desire,
Their hands too full already,
Their eyes too blind to inquire.

So, Ladies …

There is this little secret that,
I’ll not share with other men.
It’s deep, it’s dark, its truth rather stark.
Though the wording mostly unseen.
You may know it or at least sense it,
For it was whispered you at birth.
You wear it as a heritage,
You shed it at your death.
Though you may not explain it fully,
There are times, I think you know …
When the call of men and children,
Must need your attention most of all.
I promise I will never reveal it,
Because that secret is held you see …
In a knowing look, a furtive wink,
Exchanged in passing,
Just between you and me.


  1. Serena

    JC, this is true, the ‘secret’ is always safe – it’s an open secret beyond the grasping of possessive mind

  2. Joseph Carli

    Best place to hide a pebble…

  3. helvityni

    My secrets are only safe with me.

    We learnt at high school that some ‘secrets’ were meant to be passed on…but not to everybody…
    When it was the right kind of girl who whispered to me: I’m in love with your with older brother…I did what I was ‘expected’ to do…

  4. Serena

    It’s funny to think that behind each person’s thought-stream-doing is a silence-being-laughing. Small m mind cannot see itself so says, quick, do something to find freedom, truth or whatever. The idea that being rather than doing might actually be ‘it’ rarely lands, and so it goes – the world of doing, doing what it does best, doing. – rough history of the world in 57 words.

  5. Joseph Carli

    I suspect that in “reality” the only secrets between men and women that are not known are those that are not wanting to be known..ie; “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

  6. Joseph Carli

    helvityni…I have always marveled at the sublime exquisiteness of Cleopatra “managing” the males that orbited within her influence…except for Augustus..alas..he was too much like she was..

  7. Michael Taylor

    Thanks, Joe. I enjoyed that.

  8. jimhaz

    [Because that secret is held you see …
    In a knowing look, a furtive wink,
    Exchanged in passing,
    Just between you and me]

    At uni, certain groups would call that sexual harassment.

  9. Banokles

    We learn’t at high school that some ‘secrets’ were meant to be passed on…but not to everybody…A “Pons assinorum” no less,.wouldn’t that be?

  10. helvityni

    jimhaz, where do you have unis like that? For sure not in France where the harmless art of flirting is almost expected of you, be it at the butchers or the bakers, smiles exchanged in passing as the poem says, someone’s day brightened.. 🙂

  11. Joseph Carli

    jimhaz…Yes..you are correct with both your observation and your link…but it must be obvious before it can be even attempted that a mutual liking is exchanged ..even if only at eye or smile contact before any thought of approaching is done…and I think we all know the difference between the vulgar, leering ..:”cooooorr!” ..and the polite acknowledgement with a smile..perhaps the wink would come later…I do recall way back in my more poetic younger days, when this particular lady I was familiar with did blush quite prettily upon our sudden turning of the corner and greeting…I was so struck with her beautiful blushing smile, that I composed a short piece in an appropriate classics theme and sent it to her with an apologetic hope that it was not taken the “wrong” way, but I just couldn’t let that blush pass myself and time by..
    I give it here for anyone’s appraisal of a “love poem”.

    An Athens Rose.

    “A shaft of sun through the Parthenon glows,
    Upon a wild, white Athens rose.
    The blossom of that tender bush ,
    Is tinged at heart with a gentle blush.
    When held..’tis said,
    ‘Tween lovers fingers twined,
    Would, with age-old chant, their voices bind..:

    “Oh Sun, who gives the blush to thee,
    Grant her cheeks do blush for me.
    And with the passing of this day,
    Grant the wish I wish I may…”

  12. helvityni


    Pons Asinorum means ‘aasin silta’ our Latin teacher told us, we thought, it lost something in that Finnish translation…sometimes it’s better if you don’t know what some foreign words mean in your own language…

    I find that it’s easier, less vulgar, to swear in any other language than my mother tongue…

  13. diannaart

    Very enjoyable read, Joe (even if I did have to look up “pelf).


  14. Roswell

    I didn’t mind it either. I’m too dumb to know what it was about, but enjoyed it just the same.

  15. Joseph Carli

    Thank you diannaart….surely there is at least a little time spare in our days for even the slightest “blush” of poetry..for words dropped like raindrops in a shallow glass bowl..After all, while music may be considered the prince of the arts, written language has to be the one art that is completely manufactured by humans. Painting, be it landscape or portrait has its “natural” teacher in scenic or reflection, music can be said to be an echo of birdsong and sculpture has many times mimic’d wind-carved nature…but words are a composition of humanity alone and when the merest sentence can be constructed with a collection of alphabetical letters to give thought, picture and emotion from one person to others of mutual appreciation, it can surely be likened to a the finest art of all.

  16. Harquebus

    A scientific mind too dumb to know. Hoowoodathunkit?

    Sorry Roswell. Couldn’t resist.

  17. Roswell

    Harquebus, I was having fun. Unlike you, Joe has a sense of humour and I preempted that he’d appreciate my little joke (at myself).

    I actually interpreted the poem as being about politics, namely that politics is gender-based. How did I score, Joe?

    Before you answer, Joe, let’s hear what smarty pants Harquebus has to say.

  18. Harquebus

    Unable to respond. Hoowoodathunkdat?
    I got part way through and it was doing nothing for me so, I moved on. Doing so again.

  19. Roswell

    Calling Joe. Where are you, Joe?

  20. Joseph Carli

    Here, as a watcher, Roswell…Not that inclined to be drawn into an unsolvable conflict…sufficient to say that I am not surprised that Harquebus lost the thread part way through..he always is a very prolix commentator, so I suspect the brevity of explanation he found frustrating…one does have to venture inside oneself for some journeys, which would make a physical vivesector like Harquebus a tad uncertain.
    And yes..I did take your post as mock deprecation.

  21. Rossleigh

    Like Harquebus, I’m also going to comment and move on… Not sure why I commented but I’ve learned that if one just keeps commenting on things no matter how stupid one’s comments are, one can eventually become President of the United States…

    Ok, ok, I wasn’t born in the USA, but neither was Obama apparently. Or so said the current leader of the free world.

    Leader of the free world… I’m confused. There’s no such thing as a free lunch so how can there be a free world?

    Great… Now, perhaps, I’m on my way to the presiduncey!

  22. Roswell

    Was I far off the mark, all the same?

  23. Joseph Carli

    Roswell…I can’t say..it’s a secret… 🙂

  24. wam

    The poem was a komondor on the meaning of life and spoiled by my interpretation of ‘furtive’ as involving guilt.

    A million years ago a lovely little PE teacher had perfected the wink where the lid dropped with no other facial movement. Women found it and him irresistible.

  25. Joseph Carli

    wam..: ” komondor “…meaning please ?

  26. Harquebus

    a large powerful dog of an ancient Hungarian breed, originally used for sheep herding. It has a very long white coat that hangs in woolly or matted locks

    That’s three words I’ve learnt here today. Prolix, komondor and furtive.

  27. Joseph Carli

    Harq’..We aimn to please.

  28. stephengb2014

    Very nice Joseph!

    You are very articulate – my hat off Sir!

  29. David Bruce

    I am reminded of the Proverbs “The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.” Very appropriate reminder for our world today, thanks Joe.

  30. Michael Taylor

    This poem clearly has a dark message. I fear that it could be interpreted by a Charles Manson wannabe similar to how Manson heard the whispers in the Beatle song Helter Skelter. Without doubt it was written by someone with a criminal insane mind who should be locked up.

    Am I close, Joe?

  31. Joseph Carli

    Paul is dead!

  32. Michael Taylor

    “Paul, is he dead?” can be heard near the end of ‘I am the walrus’.

  33. Joseph Carli

    Of course he is dead..you go and play that song backwards and you’ll hear.

  34. Michael Taylor

    Wasn’t the backwards bit from Revolution Number 9?

  35. Joseph Carli

    Wam…: ” The poem was a komondor on the meaning of life and spoiled by my interpretation of ‘furtive’ as involving guilt.”

    Of course I saw the the obvious meaning of “Komondor” on a quick google search as a shaggy dog of Hungarian breed…as we were so keenly illuminated by Harquebus…an interpretation …I personally…took to imply that my poem was a “shaggy-dog” story; ( ” a long, rambling story or joke, typically one that is amusing only because it is absurdly inconsequential or pointless.” )….Which is why I gave you the opportunity to give YOUR interpretation of the meaning…I can now see that you have refrained from doing so…So the original insult still stands…SIR…expect no mercy for any of your future vague, rambling posts…and I warn you..I am very well armed!………. 🙂

  36. Joseph Carli

    Ahh!..The White Album…THAT..was something else!

  37. Banokles

    pons asinorum( noun,) English translation, Brewer dictionary of phrase and fable, asses bridge
    On line dictionary definition.The point at which many learners fail, especially a theory or formula that is difficult to grasp. Helvityni do some study or investigate properly instead of a knee jerk reaction.

  38. Banokles

    Oh, I forgot to point out that pons assinorum is Portuguese and not Latin.

  39. helvityni

    Thank you kindly, Banokles, it seems that the pedants find their way even to the poetry pages….

    I never learnt Portuguese, and only enough Spanish and Italian to help me on my overseas travels…Latin was so long ago, the three last years of eight year high-school…

    Some posts reserve a knee jerk reaction. Happy Googling and combubulating….

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