Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FLAMING CIRCLE, by LOUIS UNTERMEYER



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THE FLAMING CIRCLE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Though for fifteen years you have chaffed me across the table
Last Line: This pain of possession that frees and encircles us both?
Alternate Author Name(s): Lewis, Michael
Subject(s): Marriage; Weddings; Husbands; Wives


THOUGH for fifteen years you have chaffed me across the table,
Slept in my arms and fingered my plunging heart,
I scarcely know you; we have not known each other.
For all the fierce and casual contacts, something keeps us apart.

Are you struggling, perhaps, in a world that I see only dimly,
Except as it sweeps toward the star on which I stand alone?
Are we swung like two planets, compelled in our separate orbits,
Yet held in a flaming circle far greater than our own?

Last night we were single, a radiant core of completion,
Surrounded by flames that embraced us but left no burns,
To-day we are only ourselves; we have plans and pretensions;
We move in dividing streets with our small and different concerns.
Merging and rending, we wait for the miracle. Meanwhile
The fire runs deeper, consuming these selves in its growth.
Can this be the mystical marriage -- this clash and communion;
This pain of possession that frees and encircles us both?





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