Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WEDDING FEAST: 6, by ANNA HEMPSTEAD BRANCH

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THE WEDDING FEAST: 6, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: No more - no more - not any more
Last Line: "I am mother to all living men!"
Subject(s): Marriage; Weddings; Husbands; Wives

No more -- no more -- not any more
Those daemon eyes were bent on me.
I was a maid as I was before.
My love had come to marry me.
They knew not of my spirit's flight,
Guessed not my starry wandering.
The torch was lit, the feast was bright,
For the daughter of the king.
In at the door my true love came.
Trembling, I looked into his eyes.
I saw the stars of memory flame,
Eternal as the skies.
I cried, "When I abroad did rove
You saw me shine, exalted, strange.
Lo now, the miracle of love --
In me, -- a silent, shining change.
"Forevermore my wings must reach
And in fair skies must brightly spread.
My mouth must utter beauteous speech,
And stars must shine above my head.
"A change has come on me. Mine eyes
Are spiritual and I must see
Another world and stranger skies
Than ever used to be.
"Nothing is now as once it seemed
Before I ran with the daemon bright.
Beauty has out of terror streamed,
All in a single night!"
I cried, "What change has come on death,
That I no more corruption see,
But breathe a keener breath?
It is a change in me!
I have grown ethereal,
Exalted, immaterial,
Wiser and merrier than I used to be.
"When I regard the church-yard dust
And touch the grain of dead men's bones,
My sight, as spirit vision must,
Sinks through the melting stones.
"I seem to hear upon the air
A sweet, a multitudinous sound!
Ten thousand creatures dancing there
Make beautiful the ground.
"The fountains leap! The fountains spring!
They heal me with their cool delight!
I weep, and merrily I sing,
A creature passionately bright.
I feed upon the loveliest fruit
That ever shone on any tree.
I bite its mild mysterious root,
I dance in ecstasy.
Gleaming softly in and out
Calm dead people move about
As happy as can be.
"I cannot grieve! I cannot weep!
I cannot see an unholy thing!
Behold -- a corpse laid out to sleep.
Death swathed it in a living wing,
And underneath that snow-white plume
I heard a happy creature sing.
For now love's breath is in my hair,
Mine eyes have seen the greater bliss.
My smiling lips shall always wear
The splendor of my great Love's kiss.
"Now must they be deep welts of truth,
Wherefrom a fount of beauty springs.
The mouth, whereon His lips were pressed,
Shall murmur dread ecstatic things."
I laughed aloud -- "Love, we are gods,
Beyond all earthly bars!
And underneath our feet the sod
Is suns and moons and stars.
"We gather meteors in our hands,
We drink the bubbling spheres.
Our bread is seas and lands. We breathe
The cyclones of the years.
"Our garments bright are woven of light,
Of golden stars and whirling air.
And times and change and histories strange,
And Judgment Days, are acted there.
"Thy shape is white with murmuring moons,
Woven of strong stars thy body is.
Thou art those flashing orbs -- my soul,
Their ancient melodies!
"Now are we one before God's sight,
Purged brightly clean with mightiest grief,
With chastened longing and a mood
Humble beyond belief.
"Love, thou art Priest at Heaven's shrine!
The Truth thou knowest, cry again!
My breasts are beautiful with milk.
I am mother to all living men!"

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