Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WEDDING FEAST: 4, by ANNA HEMPSTEAD BRANCH

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THE WEDDING FEAST: 4, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: What strange pavilions builded bright
Last Line: "thy will upon this night be done."
Subject(s): Marriage; Weddings; Husbands; Wives

What strange pavilions builded bright
Shine in the upper air!
Scourged with sharp rods of living light,
How swiftly was I there!
She was more radiant than the noon,
More innocent than the gentlest sky,
Taller than the fire-white moon!
She was more beautiful than I.
Her garments, blown about my breast,
Were music in my heart and brain.
They were more exquisite than rest,
More terrible than pain.
Before God's eyes She met Her mate.
Not yet They throbbed with single bliss.
Their silent lips, austere, elate,
Dreamed of the great forbidden kiss.
"Never, never shall it be!
They shall not go comforted,
Until They strain Their wine of thee,
And eat thee for Their daily bread.
"If They, lose what They desire,
Greater than mortal man or woman,
They shall be dispersed in fire.
Their sufferings shall be superhuman."
All about on every side
I saw the blazing planets go.
Ashes of Judgment Days did ride
On gales as white as snow.
Many a laughing Paradise
Stricken in the air did ail,
And many a spent and anguished moon
Blackened the midnight gale.
Each to each with grievous cry,
Withered from its living mesh,
And well I knew that they were I,
The weavings of my mortal flesh.
She could not rule them with desire
Nor bid them from their eternal pain,
Until my breath had blown the fire
By which they should be purged again.
"Lay me in Her altar flame,
Thou blazing, bright, mysterious elf.
She is the empress over me,
My deep eternal Self.
"Splendor, let me be Thy wine,
Crimson, in a starry cup.
Let me be Thy drink divine.
Pour me forth and drink me up.
Seize me, Splendor, where I stand!
On my substance be Thou fed.
Break me with Thy radiant hand --
Anguished and nutritious bread.
"Then no more, not any more,
Shall I hate and worship Thee!
But Thy kiss, shaped of my death,
Be the utter end of me.
"In Thy citadel of air --
Fearful art Thou, like the sun.
Thou art fierce and Thou art fair!
Thy Will upon this night be done."

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