Last Words to Miriam

Yours is the sullen sorrow,
The disgrace is also mine;
Your love was intense and thorough,
Mine was the love of a growing flower
For the sunshine.

You had the power to explore me,
Blossom me stalk by stalk;
You woke my spirit, you bore me
To consciousness, you gave me the dour
Awareness—then I suffered a balk.

Body to body I could not
Love you, although I would
We kissed, we kissed though we should not
You yielded, we threw the last cast,
And it was no good.

You only endured, and it broke
My craftsman's nerve.
No flesh responded to my stroke;
So I failed to give you the last
Fine torture you did deserve.

You are shapely, you are adorned
But opaque and null in the flesh;
Who, had I but pierced with the thorned
Full anguish, perhaps had been cast
In a lovely illumined mesh.

Like a painted window; the best
Fire passed through your flesh,
Undrossed it, and left it blest
In clean new awareness. But now
Who shall take you afresh?

Now who will burn you free
From your body's deadness and dross?
Since the fire has failed in me,
What man will stoop in your flesh to plough
The shrieking cross?

A mute, nearly beautiful thing
Is your face, that fills me with shame
As I see it hardening;
I should have been cruel enough to bring
You through the flame.
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