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KISSED

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“So, my kissed snowdrop, you took its white blossom

Tenderly into your hand,

Kissed it three times, wear it yet in your bosom—

I understand.”

A Valentine

 

“For night is here, a dragon, to devour

The slow sweet hour

Filled with all smoke of incense, and the praise

More loud than day’s

That swings its barren censer in the sky

And asks to die

Because the sea will hear no hollow moan

Beyond its own,

Because the sea that kissed dead Sappho sings

Of strange dark things —”

The Five Kisses

 

“Her eyes were keen and horrible and cold,

Her bronze loins girdled with the sacred gold;

Her lips were large, and from afar how sweet!

How fierce and purple for a kiss to hold!”

The Honourable Adulterers

 

“IN middle music of Apollo’s corn

She stood, the reaper, challenging a kiss;

The lips of her were fresher than the morn,

The perfume of her skin was ambergris;

The sun had kissed her body into brown;

Ripe breasts thrown forward to the summer breeze;

Warm tints of red lead fancy to the crown,

Her coils of chestnut, in abundant ease,

That bound the stately head. What joy of youth

Lifted her nostril to respire the wind?

What pride of being? What triumphal truth

Acclaimed her queen to her imperial mind?”

The Reaper

 

“So with meet words of gratitude the dame

That rules our lives withdrew, triumphant flame

Kindling in her bright eyes and sunwarmed hair,

Burning in dawny cheeks as the fresh air

Kissed, cleansing them from that infested den

Of obscene deities and apish men,

Rivalling their gods in petty filthiness.”

The Tale of Archais

 

“Over the desert ocean of distress
We reach pale eager hands that quiver and bleed
With life of these our hearts that surge and stress
In agony of the meditated deed.

For in the little coppice by the gate
Wherein I drew you shy and sly, and kissed
Your lips, your hushed ‘I love you’ smooth and straight
Sweeping to wrap us in the glittering mist

Of hell that holds us—even there I heard
The lacerating laugh of fate ring out,
The dog-faced god pronounce the mantic word,
And saw the avengers gather round about

Our love. The Moirae neither break nor bend;
The Erinyes hunt us to—no happy end.”

The Augur

 

“Few are thy sons, but as fierce as dawn,
Rapturous moments and weary days,
Nights when thine image a thousand ways

Is smitten and kissed on the fiery lawn
Where the wash of the waves of thy native bays

Laps weary limbs, that of thee have drawn

Laughter and fire for their souls in pawn.”

Ode to Venus Callipyge


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