The virtue of temperance has historically encompassed a wide range of activities – after all, it “simply” means moderation via personal restraint or will. Although associated in modern parlance with food and drink, in particular alcohol, last week’s poems decided to look at temperance as it applies to less calorie-laden subjects: in speech and in modifying self-doubt.
Chastity is another virtue that has been reduced to a sound bite in the modern day, but was historically much more complex. Chastity today seems to revolve around sexual activity, and if the news is any indication, contemporary conversations about chastity focus on teenagers and pre-marital sex.
If you want to get a taste for the myriad considerations that used to go into living the virtue of chastity, you only need to consult Chapter II, Section III of Jeremy Taylor’s 1650 text “Holy Living.” He covers not only “virginal” chastity, but “marital” and “vidual” chastity (chastity rules as they apply to widows – who knew?). It encompasses thoughts, desires, fantasies, and immoderate consumption of meats and drinks.
The theme for the next two weeks then is Chastity – the sexual behavior (including lack thereof) that is considered morally acceptable within a society, religion, or culture.
Structure: Free Verse
For the next two weeks we look forward to seeing your poetry submissions inspired by or related to chastity! Submit by Tuesday, Sept. 23rd to be published: firstname.lastname@example.org