Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 4. THE SOUL TO THE BODY, by EDWARD CARPENTER



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TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 4. THE SOUL TO THE BODY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Now at last after thousands of years, dear body, from thy prison emerging
Last Line: Thy form, my love, I accept—and am no more divided from thee.
Subject(s): Soul


NOW at last after thousands of years, dear Body, from thy prison emerging,
Thy agelong tomb and sepulchre,
[Where, with what swathing-bands, like Lazarus, what mummy-cloths, what
cerements of fashion custom ignorance thou wast bound,]
Strange chrysalis, thy dead sheath bursting!
Strange glorious Lover!
To feel again thy arms enfolding, to breathe the fragrance of thy sun-kist
skin, how sweet!

What long estrangement, dear, what nightmare has it been, divided us?
From far away what long slow exodus?
Why to the tomb in ages past didst thou descend—of Death and dread
Corruption?—
While I, poor ghost, went wandering belated, and homeless and forlorn about
the world?
For, as the delicate vein-winged gnat from its watery case, as Eve from
Adam's side, as Psyche from the dark embrace of Eros,
So from thee gliding, far-back, long ago—dimly I mind me now—
Slow-differenced, this wondering wandering Self was I.

[Dimly I mind the agelong alienation:
Thou body, of thy mate bereft, and falling unclean, diseased, by devils
possest, in mire and filth—
Blind Maenad by thy own senses led astray!
While I, poor soul, half formed and maimed of half,
Abstract, absurd, amazed, and crucified,
To arid and unending toils was doomed, and loneliness.]

After it all to thee, dear, to return,
To feel again thy close-enfolding arms—how sweet!
To know Thee now at last—(long veiled and hidden)—
Through Nature moving, as the Sun and Moon
Move through the crystal heaven, self-sent, divine,
Transparent, tameless, more than spirit or matter;
Dear body, brushing with thy feet the grasses, or resting outlined by the
rocks and sea—
To rest with thee, content, in perfect union,
O in such deep and fathomless joy to rest beside thee,
Thy mate and friend, stricken with doubts no more.

Now once more in thy lungs the winds of heaven—as out there in the
forest-branches—nestle;
The waters flowing in the brooks flow on in crimson tide through artery and
vein; and lift the little valve-doors and pass by with whispered secrets from
the clouds and hills.
Sweet now the food-fruits pass without corruption inward and outward of the
body's frame;
Clean is the ark and holy chamber of the woman, the seed-vessel of the man;

And clean the body all suffused with passion
Till the right mate arrives.

O Love, with fragrance of whose wine the world is vanquished!
Great Ocean swaying far from atom to atom! sweet aromatic transpiration of
the clods!
Diffused vast Life, now here, now there, in definite lightning-flash thy
visible work fulfilling!
For this, even for thy habitation, hast thou prepared these bodies.
And thou, little one, so soon to dissolve into earth and air and sea,
Thy form, my love, I accept—and am no more divided from thee.





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