Visiting Empire Haven
A naturist resort in Moravia*, New York
We're going to make the nudist scene;
we'll cast off our garments and stroll on the green.
Genitals bared, we will lie in the sun
and stroke through the water with every-stripped-one,
near a town, named for Europe's, from whose shtetl came
a man bred in Viennese middle-class shame,
who taught that repression spoils love once enjoyed
and lived where defenses were thickly deployed,
Let children, now free of the body's disgrace,
grow happily, lacking the bowed furtive face,
freed from obsessions that torture the soul,
of forests and rooms, of the tower and the hole—
not like that country of dirty hands,
where burghers applauded the brown-shirted bands:
bearded old Jews in the streets were annoyed;
their beards were pulled and their shops destroyed,
You made it to England and tried to revive,
escaping the volk who'd have gassed you alive,
but four years after troops crossed the Rhine
you died when Yeats did, in thirty-nine.
Thanks for showing how Puritans sinned
and supporting the geist of Wedekind**,
our naturist founder, a democrat, too;
he also caused scandal, you randy old Jew,
by pleading for honest discussion of sex
and mounting his plays which would shock and perplex—
where children would clasp in the hay of a shed,
where the headless roamed graveyards and talked with the dead;
for logically following Reason, employed
Teutonically, stripping the lies which decoyed,
in the country of Hitler, those fearing the void—
*Freud was born in Freiburg, a sylvan town located in the province of Moravia.
**Frank Wedekind (1864-1918), German expressionist playwright and pioneer nudist.
"Visiting Empire Haven" previously appeared in Naked Verses, edited by Bern Loibl (Newfoundland, NJ: 2000).