Mandragora/Memory

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For works with similar titles, see Memory.
Memory
by John Cowper Powys
Published in Mandragora (1917)

MEMORY

OH, let me forget
   That ever the air was sweet
With the breath of your flower-like ways,
With your wistful, heart-breaking ways,
   And the music of your feet.
Oh, let me forget
That ever the air was warm
With the glow of your youthful lips,
With the rich soft bloom of your lips,
   And the magic of your form!

Forget that body so white
   And that hair that slipped its bands,
And the eyelids kissed by the perfumed night,
   And the pale and passionate hands.

Forget — forget these things!
   For these things have an adder's tooth;
And beauty like a scorpion stings,
   And cruel — ah, cruel is youth!

Let me feel on my forehead the wind
   That blows from the classic shore
Where the wise and lonely shadows find
   Rest and need love no more!

No more? If I'm to forget
   Your ways, your looks, your tones,

There must be no flowers by Lethe set,
Or only scentless ones!

Ah, God — the scent of a flower!
All else the flesh can endure.
But for that — in its hour — in its hour —
There is no cure.


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

The author died in 1963, 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.