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Poem by Hilda Doolittle
O Hymen king. Hymen, O Hymen king, what bitter thing is this? what shaft, tearing my heart? what scar, what light, what fire searing my eye-balls and my eyes with flame? nameless, O spoken name, king, lord, speak blameless Hymen. Why do you blind my eyes? why do you dart and pulse till all the dark is home, then find my soul and ruthless draw it back? scaling the scaleless, opening the dark? speak, nameless, power and might; when will you leave me quite? when will you break my wings or leave them utterly free to scale heaven endlessly? A bitter, broken thing, my heart, O Hymen lord, yet neither drought nor sword baffles men quite, why must they feign to fear my virgin glance? feigned utterly or real why do they shrink? my trance frightens them, breaks the dance, empties the market-place; if I but pass they fall back, frantically; must always people mock? unless they shrink and reel as in the temple at your uttered will. O Hymen king, lord, greatest, power, might, look for my face is dark, burnt with your light, your fire, O Hymen lord; is there none left can equal me in ecstasy, desire? is there none left can bear with me the kiss of your white fire? is there not one, Phrygian or frenzied Greek, poet, song-swept, or bard, one meet to take from me this bitter power of song, one fit to speak, Hymen, your praises, lord? May I not wed as you have wed? may it not break, beauty, from out my hands, my head, my feet? may Love not lie beside me till his heat burn me to ash? may he not comfort me, then, spent of all that fire and heat, still, ashen-white and cool as the wet laurels, white, before your feet step on the mountain-slope, before your fiery hand lift up the mantle covering flower and land, as a man lifts, O Hymen, from his bride, (cowering with woman eyes,) the veil? O Hymen lord, be kind.
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