"I Do Not Even Scorn..."

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"I Do Not Even Scorn..."
by Richard Aldington


               I
I do not even scorn your lovers—
They clasped an image of you, a cloud,
Not the whole life of you that's mine.

               II
I do not even pity my mistresses—
Such a poor shadow of desire
Their half-warm passion drew from me.

               III
You are a delicate Arab mare
For whom there is but one rider;
I am a sea that takes joyfully
Only one straight ship upon my breast.

               IV
Look, like a dark princess whose beauty
Many have sung, you wear me
The one jewel that is warmed by your breast.

               V
See, as a soldier wearying of fighting
Turns for peace to some golden city,
So do I enter you, beloved.

               VI
The scarlet that stains your lips and breast-points—
Let it be my blood that dyes them,
My very blood so gladly yielded.

               VII
Let it be your flesh and only your flesh
That fashions for me a child
Whose beauty only shall be less than yours!

               VIII
Everlasting as the sea round the islands
I cry at your door for love, more love,
Everlasting as the roll of the sea
My blood beats always for you, for you,
Everlasting as the unchangeable sea
I cry the infinite for space to love you!

               IX
Earth of the earth, body of the earth,
Flesh of our mother, life of all things,
A flower, a bird, a rock, a tree,
Thus I love you, sister and lover;
Would that we had one mother indeed
That we might be bound closer by shame.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1962, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 50 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.