Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TOWARD THE PIRAEUS: 4, by HILDA DOOLITTLE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TOWARD THE PIRAEUS: 4, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: If I had been a boy
Last Line: Intolerably cold and sweet.
Alternate Author Name(s): H. D.; Aldington, Richard, Mrs.
Subject(s): Admiration; Bible; Man-woman Relationships; Men; Male-female Relations

IF I had been a boy,
I would have worshiped your grace,
I would have flung my worship
before your feet,
I would have followed apart,
glad, rent with an ecstasy
to watch you turn
your great head, set on the throat,
thick, dark with its sinews,
burned and wrought
like the olive stalk,
and the noble chin
and the throat.

I would have stood,
and watched and watched
and burned,
and when in the night,
from the many hosts, your slaves,
and warriors and serving men
you had turned
to the purple couch and the flame
of the woman, tall like cypress tree
that flames sudden and swift and free
as with crackle of golden resin
and cones and the locks flung free
like the cypress limbs,
bound, caught and shaken and loosed,
bound, caught and riven and bound
and loosened again,
as in rain of a kingly storm
or wind full from a desert plain.

So, when you had risen
from all the lethargy of love and its heat,
you would have summoned me, me alone,
and found my hands,
beyond all the hands in the world,
cold, cold, cold,
intolerably cold and sweet.

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