An Anthology of Modern Bohemian Poetry/The Body

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THE BODY

 

Tell unto me, O my soul (from afar thou art come again),
What hast thou met and beheld and lost upon earth’s domain?
From the depths the music resounded, the snowing of icy stars,
Ethereal lips in quivering play:
Mornings and noon-tides and flowers in array.

My mornings have strayed in a mystic field,
Upon paths where the early daisies grew.
In the grass the moments like dew their sparkle revealed,
Each stem was aquiver as tho' mysterious birds from it flew:
And as if in the sun the most precious incense were being burned,
An azure mist o'er the rest of the worlds and fragrance o'er us it did strew.

From salty lakes the noon-tides approached; the vault of the sky with its gleaming
On all that had died, the knell of their summer-days was sounding;
Their shimmering pinions o'er all the sky to the zenith streaming
Above us were bounding.
Whither their shadows tool: refuge the eyes were in weariness closed,
The blood like the shaft of a furnace its glitter o'er purest of visions did throw
A torturing heat in the midst of eternity's rapture,
The heavenly city aglow.

Blossoms I saw, and their chalices blooming towards the sun they did hold,
Like maidens their lamps, poured full with oils of gold;
And in the lamps the fires flickered, grew dark and aflame in the wind,
On the secret path of pleasure entwined.

Tell unto me, O my soul, whither thy mornings have roamed,
And whither have flown thy noon-tide hours,
And faded away like the richness of flowers?
My mornings before me their blossoms have laid,
In roses that never can fade;
To their nest in the sun have flown my noon-tide hours,
With the sun they have gone to rest,

And my blossoms within the questioning gaze of my eyes
Have died of a mystic pest.

 

"The Temple Builders" (1899).