E. E. Cummings


1. Thou aged unreluctant earth who dost with quivering continual thighs invite the thrilling rain the slender paramour to toy with thy extraordinary lust, (the sinuous rain which rising from thy bed steals to his wife the sky and hour by hour wholly renews her pale flesh with delight) -immortally whence are the high gods fled? Speak elm eloquent pandar with thy nod significant to the ecstatic earth in token of his coming whom her soul burns to embrace-and didst thou know the god from but the imprint of whose cloven feet the shrieking dryad sought her leafy goal, at the mere echo of whose shining mirth the furious hearts of mountains ceased to beat? Wind beautifully who wanderest over smooth pages of forgotten joy proving the peaceful theorems of the flowers -didst e'er depart upon more exquisite quest? and did thy fortunate fingers sometime dwell (within a greener shadow of secret bowers) among the curves of that delicious boy whose serious grace one goddess loved too well? Chryselephantine Zeus Olympian sceptred colossus of the Pheidian soul whose eagle frights creation,in whose palm Nike presents the crown sweetest to man, whose lilied robe the sun's white hands emboss, betwixt whose absolute feet anoint with calm of intent stars circling the acerb pole poises,smiling,the diadumenos in whose young chiseled eyes the people saw their once again victorious Pantarkes (whose grace the prince of artists made him bold to imitate between the feet of awe), thunderer whose omnipotent brow showers its curls of unendured eternal gold over the infinite breast in bright degrees, whose pillow is the graces and the hours, father of gods and men whose subtle throne twain sphinxes bear each with a writhing youth caught to her brazen breasts,whose foot-stool tells how fought the looser of the warlike zone of her that brought forth tall Hippolytus, lord on whose pedestal the deep expels (over Selene's car closing uncouth) of Helios the sweet wheels tremulous- are there no kings in Argos,that the song is silent,of the steep unspeaking tower within whose brightening strictness Danae saw the night severed and the glowing throng descend,felt on her flesh the amorous strain of gradual hands and yielding to that fee her eager body's unimmortal flower knew in the darkness a more burning rain? 2. And still the mad magnificent herald Spring assembles beauty from forgetfulness with the wild trump of April:witchery of sound and odour drives the wingless thing man forth in the bright air,for now the red leaps in the maple's cheek,and suddenly by shining hordes in sweet unserious dress ascends the golden crocus from the dead. On dappled dawn forth rides the pungent sun with hooded day preening upon his hand followed by gay untimid final flowers (which dressed in various tremulous armor stun the eyes of ragged earth who sees them pass) while hunted from his kingdom winter cowers, seeing green armies steadily expand hearing the spear-song of the marching grass. A silver sudden parody of snow tickles the air to golden tears,and hark! the flicker's laughing yet,while on the hills the pines deepen to whispers primeval and throw backward their foreheads to the barbarous bright sky,and suddenly from the valley thrills the unimaginable upward lark and drowns the earth and passes into light (slowly in life's serene perpetual round a pale world gathers comfort to her soul, hope richly scattered by the abundant sun invades the new mosaic of the ground -let but the incurious curtaining dusk be drawn surpassing nets are sedulously spun to snare the brutal dew,-the authentic scroll of fairie hands and vanishing with the dawn). Spring,that omits no mention of desire in every curved and curling thing,yet holds continuous intercourse-through skies and trees the lilac's smoke the poppy's pompous fire the pansy's purple patience and the grave frailty of daises-by what rare unease revealed of teasingly transparent folds- with man's poor soul superlatively brave. Surely from robes of particoloured peace with mouth flower-faint and undiscovered eyes and dim slow perfect body amorous (whiter than lilies which are born and cease for being whiter than this world)exhales the hovering high perfume curious of that one month for whom the whole years dies, risen at length from palpitating veils. O still miraculous May!O shining girl of time untarnished!O small intimate gently primeval hands,frivolous feet divine!O singular and breathless pearl! O indefinable frail ultimate pose! O visible beatitude sweet sweet intolerable!silence immaculate of god's evasive audible great rose! 3. Lover,lead forth thy love unto that bed prepared by whitest hands of waiting years, curtained with wordless worship absolute, unto the certain altar at whose head stands that clear candle whose expecting breath exults upon the tongue of flame half-mute, (haste ere some thrush with silver several tears complete the perfumed paraphrase of death). Now is the time when all occasional things close into silence,only one tree,one svelte translation of eternity unto the pale meaning of heaven clings, (whose million leaves in winsome indolence simmer upon thinking twilight momently) as down the oblivious west's numerous dun magnificence conquers magnificence. In heaven's intolerable athanor inimitably tortured the base day utters at length her soft intrinsic hour, and from those tenuous fires which more and more sink and are lost the divine alchemist, the magus of creation,lifts a flower- whence is the world's insufferable clay clothed with incognizable amethyst. Lady at whose imperishable smile the amazed doves flicker upon sunny wings as if in terror of eternity, (or seeming that they would mistrust a while the moving of beauteous dead mouths throughout that very proud transparent company of quivering ghosts-of-love which scarcely sings drifting in slow diaphanous faint rout), queen in the inconceivable embrace of whose tremendous hair that blossom stands whereof is most desire,yet less than those twain perfect roses whose ambrosial grace, goddess,thy crippled thunder-forging groom or the loud lord of skipping maenads knows,- having Discordia's apple in thy hands, which the scared shepherd gave thee for his doom- O thou within the chancel of whose charms the tall boy god of everlasting war received the shuddering sacrament of sleep, betwixt whose cool incorrigible arms impaled upon delicious mystery, with gaunt limbs reeking of the whispered deep, deliberate groping ocean fondled o'er the warm long flower of unchastity, imperial Cytherea,from frail foam sprung with irrevocable nakedness to strike the young world into smoking song- as the first star perfects the sensual dome of darkness,and the sweet strong final bird transcends the sight,O thou to whom belong th ehearts of lovers!-I beseech thee bless thy suppliant singer and his wandering word.

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