Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON SENESIS' MUMMY, by LEONIE ADAMS

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

ON SENESIS' MUMMY, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Then, too, when beauteous senesis
Last Line: To drop as blossoms do apart?
Alternate Author Name(s): Troy, William, Mrs.
Subject(s): Mummies

Then, too, when beauteous Senesis
Lived, no lovely thing there was
Much less mortal than a rose,
And all dancing and all limbs
Had their dark and mortal close.

Lovers said then too of death
How more than the worm's mouth was owing
One that drew a flower of lust;
And then there were no such churls to yield
Delicacy like hers to dust.

So perfect now and bodily
She lies lapped in cedarwood.
Her still breasts are garlanded,
And a gilded mask is over
Her cold, shapely, dreamless head.

O quick thing left thus as death stilled her,
O ebony-straight, the painted slaves
Still all the ritual treasure bring.
Their mournful antique bodies make
A grave and lovely gesturing.

Surely then too when Senesis
Lived, life was a piercing thing;
Bright life, on which long darkness wars;
And living then, to their brimmed hearts
Came a sweet wondering at stars.

They learnt how soon the petals fall
On Egypt's or on any waters;
How being that suckles chilly fear
Is lovelier so, and dearest beauty
As brief a jewel as a tear.

How with this wisdom would they leave her,
A thousand and a thousand springs,
Lying with a stony heart;
Nor ever suffer her sweet breast
To drop as blossoms do apart?

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