Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SHELL TO THE PEARL, by LOUIS UNTERMEYER

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE SHELL TO THE PEARL, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Grow not so fast, glow not so warm
Last Line: Cling close, my child.
Alternate Author Name(s): Lewis, Michael
Subject(s): Child Care; Youth; Baby Sitters; Governesses

GROW not so fast, glow not so warm;
Thy hidden fires burn too wild—
Too perfect is thy rounded form;
Cling close, my child.

Be yet my babe, rest quiet when
The great sea-urges beat and call;
Too soon wilt thou be ripe for men,
The world and all.

Thy shining skin, thy silken sheath,
These will undo thee all too soon;
And men will fight for thee beneath
Some paler moon...

Aye, thou my own, my undefiled,
Shalt make the lewd world dream and start,
When they have seized and torn thee, child,
Out of my heart.

With velvets shall thy bed be laid;
A royal captive thou shalt be—
And oh, what prices will be paid
To ransom thee.

Thy path shall be a track of gold,
Of lust, of death and countless crimes;
Bought by a sensual world—and sold
A thousand times...

And each shall lose thee at the last,
Hating, yet still desiring thee...
While I lie, where I have been cast,
Back in the sea.

So wait—and, lest the world transform
Thy soul and make thee wanton-wild,
Grow not so fast, glow not so warm,
Cling close, my child.

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