(written 1/94; Webbed 3/98)

You want a lover who can write a sonnet,
Compose a symphony, repair a car,
Chop down a tree, design and sew a bonnet,
And calculate the distance to a star.
You want someone hard-headed, yet romantic;
A lover who can burn but never scar.
(Mixed metaphors. I’m batting over par.
My poetry seems flawed when I’m pedantic.)
Then, too, you want someone with whom to spar. . . .
I’ve called myself a practical idealist;
My self-descriptions contradict and jar:
A serious, laughing, visionary realist.
Though I may not be everything you want,
I might be worth a try. (Is that too blunt?)


I wrote this in a letter to a then-potential (now ex-) sweetie. Being a generalist can involve certain apparent contradictions… In poetry (unlike in logic), a paradox is a seeming contradiction which is actually consistent.

Jed Hartman <>