Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, COSMOS FLOWERS, by HOWARD MUMFORD JONES

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COSMOS FLOWERS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Grey clouds, with sudden lakes of blue
Last Line: Scheherazade!

Grey clouds, with sudden lakes of blue --
A mournful, monotonous wind like wailing women --
And against the crumbling wall
Hundreds of cosmos flowers,
Startling, leopard-like, sensual,
Wave on their stalks of feathery green;
And above them the purple morning-glories,
A blare of glorious trumpets,
Cling to the yellowing wall;
And a negro, his torn white shirt
Revealing in jarred tears his ebony skin,
The gleaming muscles, the cat-like, strong
Animal body, labors on crooked knees,
Clearing the autumn garden of twigs and the flying leaves. . . .


The cosmos flowers, my Dove,
Are as thine enticing eyes, and the slender grace of their stems
Thy languid body that leans and sways and allures,
Weary of telling thy tales and glad of illicit love,
Scheherazade, soul of the cosmos flower!

Behold, in thy chamber, above the fountain fall,
The hidden silver fingers of women sound on lutes,
Chanting from latticed recesses
Surahs out of Al Koran, the Wisdom of God;
Thy companions, in blue trousers,
One by one steal away to hidden rooms
Where slaves or lovers await to embrace them all night long;
And at thy command the glistening negroes come,
Bare of breast, and turbanned in white, with trays
Of coloured sherbets, and dates, and lemons, and sweets,
And a eunuch walks at their head,
Grave and useless to thee, O Moon, for love, whose master
Is hunting to-day the lion, but I, O Delight,
Thy slave, the Gardener's Son, in blue and gold
Lie beside thee upon the tiger skins,
Eager for love and knowing to-morrow I die.


Fate is fate, O My Soul!
Thy moon-like eyes, thy thin, sweet eyebrows, the breasts
Hid and revealed by thy silken vests, the alluring
Mouth, the tapering nails, and the slippered feet --
Save only to-day are dust, but the cosmos flower
Blooms forever, and ever the shrill-voiced singers
Chant that Allah is Allah, and man is as rain and dust.
Yield to me therefore, Pomegranate Flower! Thy lips
Are heavy with love, thine eyes are riddles, thine hair
Hath woven the night about thy face, its moon!
And eunuch and slave and the throbbing tambourines
And the dancing girls and thy master, O Star, are dreams,
And only the Gardener's Son with the close-cropped golden hair,
And thou, Beloved, we two together and love,
Only these three abide, but abide for a moment, and go.


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