Classic and Contemporary Poetry
THE WEREWIFE, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: She came to me in a dazzling guise
Last Line: And the kiss of her stung like the fang of a snake.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Beauty; Faces; Love; Marriage; Soul; Weddings; Husbands; Wives
SHE came to me in a dazzling guise
Of gleaming tresses and glimmering eyes,
With long, limp lashes that drooped and made
For their baleful glances bowers of shade;
And a face so white -- so white and sleek
That the roses blooming in either cheek
Flamed and burned with a crimson glow
Redder than ruddiest roses blow --
Redder than blood of the roses know
That Autumn spills in the drifted snow.
And what could my fluttering, moth-winged soul
Do but hover in her control? --
With its little, bewildered bead-eyes fixed
Where the gold and the white and the crimson mixed?
And when the tune of her low laugh went
Up from that ivory instrument
That you would have called her throat, I swear
The notes built nests in her gilded hair,
And nestled and whistled and twittered there,
And wooed me and won me to my despair.
And thus it was that she lured me on,
Till the latest gasp of my love was gone,
And my soul lay dead, with a loathing face
Turned in vain from her dread embrace, --
For even its poor dead eyes could see
Her sharp teeth sheathed in the flesh of me,
And her dripping lips, as she turned to shake
The red froth off that her greed did make,
As my heart gripped hold of a deathless ache,
And the kiss of her stung like the fang of a snake.
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