Not all moments of frustration in poetry create pleasure. Sometimes, they bring pleasure and pain together in a compelling moment of poignance. Take, for example, the start of “Purple Bathing Suit” from Louise Glück’s collection Meadowlands:
I like watching you garden
with your back to me in your purple bathing suit:
your back is my favorite part of you,
the part furthest away from your mouth.
You might give some thought to that mouth.
Also to the way you weed …
This is the same kind of stroke as in “Snow” from Ararat, where she says of being a young girl on her father’s shoulders:
My father liked
to stand like this, to hold me
so he couldn’t see me.
The incisive mind invades the expectation of tenderness, cuts it off and makes it sinister — the same experience as feeling shocked by cruelty in a moment of vulnerability, the same thing — in essence — as heartbreak itself.