Eros by Hilda Doolittle

Where is he taking us
now that he has turned back?

Where will this take us,
this fever,
spreading into light?

Nothing we have ever felt,
nothing we have dreamt,
or conjured in the night
or fashioned in loneliness,
can equal this.

My mouth is wet with your life,
my eyes blinded with your face,
a heart itself which
feels the intimate music.
My mind is caught,
dimmed with it,
(where is love taking us?)
my lips are wet with your life.

In my body were pearls cast,
shot with Ionian tints, purple,
vivid through the white.
Keep love and he wings
with his bow,
up, mocking us,
keep love and he taunts us
and escapes.

Keep love and he sways apart
in another world,
outdistancing us.
Keep love and he mocks,
ah, bitter and sweet,
your sweetness is more cruel
than your hurt.

Ah love is bitter and sweet,
but which is more sweet
the bitterness or the sweetness,
no ne has spoken it.

I had thought myself frail,
a petal
with light equal
on leaf and under-leaf.
I had thought myself frail;
a lamp,
shell, ivory or crust of pearl,
about to fall shattered,
with the flame spent.

I cried:

I must perish,
I am deserted in this darkness,
an outcast, desperate,
such fire rent me with Hesperus,

Then the day broke.

What need of a lamp
when day lighten us,
what need to bind love
when love stands
with such radiant wings over us?

What need –
yet to sing love,
love must first shatter us.

 

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