Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, I HAVE PIPED AND YE DID NOT DANCE, by HERBERT KAUFMAN

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I HAVE PIPED AND YE DID NOT DANCE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A man once lay at a woman's feet
Last Line: "in the place that was flame in the once ago."
Subject(s): Hearts; Love; Man-woman Relationships; Passion; Male-female Relations

A MAN once lay at a woman's feet,
And all but his body slept;
And the woman called, but his ears were stone,
So the woman lived and loved alone;
With the blood of her vein and the blood of her bone,
She plead to the man who lay mute and prone.

She cried for his passion to wake for her,
She called to his soul, but he did not stir;
So her days were sad and her nights were mad,
For the want of this thing to make them glad,
For the miser'd wealth that the sleeper had.

But the man drowsed on and he felt no thrill,
And the woman loved on in vain until
The fires which once kept her heart a'leap,
Subsided and died in their bosom keep.

Then, the man who had basked in the pleasing glow,
When he felt the fires of love burn low,
And his being was cold and he racked with chill,
Responded too late with his half-man will,
And the Morphean mists torn away from his eyes,
He beheld her, and seeing, he sought to rise,
Then turning, he falls and he sobs and lies,
For this is the thing that he reads in her eyes;

"I have piped and ye did not dance;
And, lo! now my song is done!
I brought my all for your soul to grasp,
My soul was hungry to feel your clasp,
To quiver with joy in your mastering clutch,
But you let me starve when you had so much.
There was a day when the very touch
Of your hand on me was an ecstasy,
But you did not know and you would not see
That I was your chattel, utterly;
As the stars on high are the slaves of night,
So I glowed for you, but you saw no light;
What mattered it then that my form was cast
In the mold of a goddess from out the past—
That my mouth was a fragrant coral bed—
That the wine of my lips was sweet and red—
That my bosom was eager to leap and thrill,
And answer your every passion's will!
Now, alack! all the song in me is still,
My soul is dead and it cannot wake;
You may stir the ashes and you may rake
The cold charred embers; there is no glow
In the place that was flame in the once ago."

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