When the Ecstatic Body Grips


When the ecstatic body grips
Its heaven, with little sobbing cries,
And lips are crushed on hot blind lips,
I read strange pity in your eyes.

For that in you which is not mine,
And that in you which I love best,
And that, which my day-thoughts divine
Masterless still, still unpossessed,

Sits in the blue eyes' frightened stare,
A naked lonely-dwelling thing,
A frail thing from its body-lair
Drawn at my body's summoning;

Whispering low, "O unknown man,
Whose hunger on my hunger wrought,
Body shall give what body can,
Shall give you all- save what you sought."

Whispering, "O secret one, forgive,
Forgive and be content though still
Beyond the blood's surrender live
The darkness of the separate will.

"Even if in the veins we know
Body's delirium, body's peace-
Ask not that ghost to ghost shall go,
Essence in essence merge and cease."

But swiftly, as in sudden sleep,
That You in you is veiled or dead;
And the world's shrunken to a heap
Of hot flesh huddled on a bed.

Eric Dodds

By Bouguereau

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