Maurice Thompson

Garden Statues

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I: EROS

O naked baby Love among the roses,
Watching with laughing gray-green eyes for me,
Who says that thou art blind? Who hides from thee?
Who is it in his foolishness supposes
That ever a bandage round thy sweet face closes
Thicker than gauze? I know that thou canst see!
Thy glances are more swift and far more sure
To reach their goal than any missile is,
Except that one which never yet did miss,
Whose slightest puncture not even death can cure,
Whose stroke divides the heart with such a bliss
As even the strongest trembles to endure,--
Thine arrow that makes glad the saddest weather
With the keen rustle of its purple feather!


II: APHRODITE

And thou whose tresses like straw-colored gold
Above the scarlet gladiole float and shine,--
Whose comely breasts, whose shoulders fair and fine,
Whose fathomless eyes and limbs of heavenly mould,
Thrill me with pain and pleasures manifold,
Racy of earth, yet full of fire divine,--
Art thou unclean as that old Paphian dream?
I know thou art not; for thou camest to me
Out of the white foam-lilies of the sea,
Out of the salt-clear fountain's clearest stream,
The embodiment of purest purity,
As healthful as the sun's directest beam,
So life-giving that up beneath thy feet,
Wherever thou goest, the grass-flowers bubble sweet!


III: PSYCHE

And thou among the violets lying down,
With gracile limbs curled like a sleeping child's,
And dewy lips, and cheeks drawn back with smiles,
And bright hair wrapped about thee for a gown,
Does some implacable fate with scowl and frown
Weave for thy feet its dark insidious wiles?
Not so, for I have known thee from thy youth
A singer of sweet tunes and sweeter words,
To merry tinkling of soft cithern chords.
Thine is the way of happiness and truth,
And all thy movements are as swift and smooth
As through the air the strongest flying bird's.
Infinite joy about thy presence clings,
Unspeakable hope falls from thy going wings.


IV: PERSEPHONE

And thou that by the poppy bloom dost stand
Robed in the dusky garments of the South,
With slumber in thine eyes and on thy mouth,
Sandaled with silence, having in thy hand
A philter for death and a sleep-bearing wand,
Bringest thou the immitigable fire and drouth?
No; for thy shadowy hair is full of balm,
Thy philter is delight, thy wand gives rest.
See, now I fold my hands upon my breast!
Come, touch me with thy cool and soothing palm,
Lull me to measureless sleep, ineffable calm,
And bear me to thy garden in the west,
Beyond whose ever-clouded confine lies
A sweet illimitable paradise!

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Maurice Thompson