Naming Labels: Poem “The Naked and the Nude”

Obviously, the two gentlemen in the above photograph are bare or clothes-free. The difference is how they are posing while without covering. With the attached poem (below) and message in mind, one of our guys  is naked. Our assumption being that it is not his first choice. On the other hand, our other man is nude. That’s because his being without clothing causes him no concern or discomfort whatsoever. The question is: “Which one is which?”

The answer to that important question depends on each reader’s perception and on the specific opinions on the meanings and connotations of each word. But first, let’s examine the poem by Robert Graves.

“The Naked and the Nude”

by Robert Graves

For me, the naked and the nude

(By lexicographers construed

as synonyms that should express

the same deficiency of dress

or shelter) stand as wide apart

As love from lies or truth from art.


Lovers without reproach will gaze

on bodies naked and ablaze;

The Hippocratic eye will see

in nakedness, anatomy;

And naked shines the goddess when

she mounts her lion among men.


The nude are bold, the nude are sly

To hold each treasonable eye.

While draping by a showman’s trick

Their dishabille in rhetoric,

They grin a mock-religious grin

of scorn at those of naked skin.


The naked, therefor, who compete

against the nude may know defeat;

Yet when they both together tread

the briary pastures of the dead,

by Gorgons with long whips pursued,

how naked go the sometime nude!


Robert Graves in his poem offers meaning to the two words that are both often considered the same, naked and nude. In some ways, the two words can represent the terms naturist and nudist that we use today. For an overwhelming majority of us, neither of the two are offensive and one has no more meaning than the other. However, there are purists in both camps who do feel that the two are not synonymous and that one has more authenticity than the other.

Robert Graves (1895 – 1985) lived during a time when naked and nude were current terms used to describe a person who was without clothing. nudist was a possibility during his lifetime but naturist is more contemporary and hadn’t yet come into vogue until the later years of his life. The above poem wasn’t written until 1957.

Graves insinuates that the naked are guided by both happiness and love. The nude are both conniving and sly and hold judgment on those they consider naked. At the very end of the last stanza, we are faced with the reality that the nude are essentially viewed no different than the naked. 

Living in Robert Graves’s era, the average person, and even many with a higher education, both naked and nude were seen as synonymous. Both meant without clothing or covering and neither were inferior to or superior to the other. Bare, which was rarely if ever used, would have an identical definition.

Generally, the same thought is true today. Not only for naked and nude but likewise for naturist and nudist. All mean the same thing – no clothing or covering.

ReNude Pride is a site that promotes same gender loving (gay and bisexual male) bare practitioners (men without clothes). As a member of the community, I am acutely aware of the issue of purists, both naturist and nudist who are inclined to perceive naturist and nudist as one being superior to the other. Based on individual philosophy, that may indeed be the case. For the majority of people, however, naked, naturist, nude and nudist all denote the same – bare, clothes free or without clothing.

This is the precise reason that I prefer the label: bare practitioner. I can avoid the very controversial naked, naturist, nude and nudist. I enthusiastically self-identify myself as a bare practitioner whenever possible. My spouse, Aaron, does the same. That is true for many of our friends who have already taught the meaning and reason for the term to their friends.


Bare practitioner is an identification that I created primarily for myself and exclusively for this website, ReNude Pride. The label was initially to replace naked, nude, naturist and nudist so as not to evoke any negative connotations those descriptions implied. In 2018, bare practitioner, as far as I was concerned, denoted or specifically concerned same gender loving (gay or bisexual) men (men who love men) who are also clothes free. It now identifies us by our sexuality and clothes free lifestyle. Thus, a man who is sexually attracted to a woman and is clothes free is a heterosexual naturist or a heterosexual nudist. A man who is sexually attracted to a man is simply a bare practitioner – sexuality and clothes freedom implied.

All of us are free to determine our own label and to self-identify ourselves in whatever way makes us the most comfortable. Some are African-American, black or Person of Color. Some are Caucasian, European-American or white. Naked, naturist, nude and nudist are no exception. We are all bare or clothes free!

Despite the differences Robert Graves in his poem, The Naked and the Nude, in his closing summary, he acknowledges their sameness: “How naked go the sometime nude!” 

“There are those who so dislike the nude that they find something indecent even in the naked truth.”                                                                        ~ F. H. Bradley ~

As for the two dudes in the first two photographs above, well, they’re both naked, they’re both nude. One just happens to be very comfortable hanging out proudly for everyone to see his body. The other? He just might be somewhat modest about completely exposing himself and all of his male anatomy!

Author’s Note: A very special thank you to everyone who wished for me a productive, safe and successful trip to my Mom in Greece last week. I think that I was able to raise her spirits and bring to her some joy. I seriously and sincerely appreciate all your kindness! 

Naked hugs!

Roger/ReNude Pride




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A same gender loving (gay) bare practitioner (nudist) who invites you to explore my blog. At times I may appear irreverent but I am in no way irrelevant!

6 thoughts on “Naming Labels: Poem “The Naked and the Nude””

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