A Bather

AFTER A Picture BY A NDREAS Z ORN

Thick dappled by circles of sunshine and fluttering shade,

Your bright, naked body advances, blown over by leaves,

Half-quenched in their various green, just a point of you showing,

A knee or a thigh, sudden glimpsed, then at once blotted into

The filmy and flickering forest, to start out again

Triumphant in smooth, supple roundness, edged sharp as white ivory,

Cool, perfect, with rose rarely tinting your lips and your breasts,

Swelling out from the green in the opulent curves of ripe fruit,

And hidden, like fruit, by the swift intermittence of leaves.

So, clinging to branches and moss, you advance on the ledges

Of rock which hang over the stream, with the wood-smells about you,

The pungence of strawberry plants, and of gum-oozing spruces,

While below runs the water, impatient, impatient — to take you,

To splash you, to run down your sides, to sing you of deepness,

Of pools brown and golden, with brown-and-gold flags on their borders,

Of blue, lingering skies floating solemnly over your beauty,

Of undulant waters a-sway in the effort to hold you,

To keep you submerged and quiescent while over you glories

The Summer.

Oread, Dryad, or Naiad, or just

Woman, clad only in youth and in gallant perfection,

Standing up in a great burst of sunshine, you dazzle my eyes

Like a snow-star, a moon, your effulgence burns up in a halo,

For you are the chalice which holds all the races of men.

You slip into the pool and the water folds over your shoulder,

And over the tree-tops the clouds slowly follow your swimming,

And the scent of the woods is sweet on this hot Summer morning.

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