‘Arnaut counts up all her argosies
But needs surplus of wit to name these graces’
- Ezra Pound
If I could but possess your smallest toe,
For just one instant, know this little you,
I’d be more blest than he who in whose throes
Possesses every woman that earth grew.
I sing these songs in fashion very old,
This love of mine the modern songs can’t chime,
This ancient love can’t fit the current mold -
Its strength gives proof to growth from distant times.
Oh, who could know the way your image burns;
The merest shade of you within my soul
Awakens all my being, makes it yearn
As life itself in earth that blooms and grows.
What causes all the grasses to ascend,
The fruit of every tree, you in me bend.
This wound is past all healing, medicine,
Though from Asclepius is futile; still
Within me sticks this arrow shot by him
Who wings his being, works his loving will.
No beast, no lion, not one prodigy
Of power nature from her womb brings forth
Can guard their heart against this painful sting:
His bow’d have Zeus himself relinquish court.
Ah wounded, wounded, past all healing drops -
A wound that gives a life and not a death,
Though pierced in that most center, nothing stops
But grows intensely in a wild yes.
Your batting eyes could bring a corpse to dance,
And I die wholly with your slightest glance.
This opened vein exposed within the heart,
These pangs that sound in all the living nerves,
This brokenness that breaks in every part,
This howling soul whose howl goes unheard.
I don’t think any of the balms of earth,
Not light in morning lingering trees,
Not dew that gleams on grasses, not the birth
Of heavenly light in heavenly mystery -
Not any of the graces that adorn
The passing hours shedding magic time,
Not any of the stars, the brightest forms
Can heal this suffering of soul and mind.
The arrow when I saw you was shot true,
It wounded deeply for he deeply drew.
Your eyelash is a heaven in itself,
The merest breath your blessed mouth exudes
Has more of sweetness than ambrosial wealth
Bedewing mount Olympus; attitudes –
The smallest movement of the soul within you,
Each thought that ripples in your very being
Are more of worth than all of human truth,
Are more of value than all human seeing.
Your glance could drive the world itself to madness
Your very look could crack the world apart,
All those who see, they break and break in sadness:
The arrows of your eyes wound every heart.
Your curling toe is more than galaxies
Insensate stone grow hearts if they but see.
To save your lips from tasting just one drop
Of pain, I’d drink an ocean, swallow all
The waters wrapping continents – not stop
Until I turned all earth a desert’s pall;
Then take the sorrows twisted out in dust,
The many banes that beat on human time -
I’d take them all, if only but to just
Ensure that not a mote of pain is thine.
Like Atlas holding all the world on shoulders,
I’d bear the burden of all suffering,
I’d take whatever cares afflict and smolder
In you, from you, therefore for cherishing.
I’d take your cross and hammer it to mine -
Your lightness lightens doubleness of pine.
The moon above, the sun and all the stars
Are dimly burning embers, only ash,
When they are viewed, compared from their afar
With you on earth whose light makes their light crash.
The cosmos in its vast entirety,
The universe with all its many things
Are not one cent of value when I see
The merest portion of yourself, you bring
Into my heart from your resplendent being
The finest joys that ever fluxed in matter.
The heavens ancient prophets once were seeing
Are in your very soul, the earth is scattered.
I live a god forever in your glance,
A Buddha toils eons for this trance.
Your joy surpasses all the joys of heaven,
When I see happiness gleam in your eye
My heart is lighter than an angel leavened
In spirits purely clear as bright blue skies.
The merest shade of sorrow on your form
Turns light to darkness, breaks my very being;
I’d rather lose all things I own in storm
Than see one troubled thought afflict your seeing.
Your eyes hold more of paradise than books
That dream of Edens held right after death -
Ye, all religions, every heaven shook
From out a human brain to you are less.
I’d turn my own eyes blind, forget all sight
To save you from one single, troubled night.
I never knew a happy day on earth,
My lexicon was wrong when I applied
That word to things until my eyes gave birth
To you in me, the one that word defines.
The earth itself was barren as the roots
Of trees that suffer in a desert clime,
All being languished waterless, no fruit
Was here until the fates decreed your time.
What is the wealth of man, what human power?
When viewed next to your sight, when seen compared,
But empty bones, a corpse that crows devour -
The world itself not worth a single hair.
Ah, you hold all the brightness that dreams mock,
Imagining brings but devalued stock.
The brightest star that ever torched the night
Is but an empty stone next to your presence;
Though it could brighten, bloom a massive light
It is a weed when viewed next to your essence.
If all the gods that work the waves and air,
If all the powers driving in the sun
Arrayed against me, I’d not give a care:
I’d stake my spear against their heaven’s guns;
For just to be around you, in your spell,
That emanates such aura round your being,
I’d pay the cost, eternity in hell -
The sulfur torture worth one moment seeing.
A heaven’s mercy lives within your face,
Not all the years of Time can touch your grace.
If dreams could mirror but one ounce of you,
I’d never wake again from living sleep,
For such the truth, such sleeping would imbue
The stuff of life that waking doesn’t keep.
Oh, if those dreams could but bring me your glance,
The sound your voice made when your soul made speak
Those lips that blessed each words that passed in trance -
Made brighter than the sun when nooned at peak,
I’d turn ascetic to the woken world,
Deny my eyes the cosmic gifts of earth -
Spend fortunes on narcotics to unfurl
A never ending night – such is your worth;
And this unmoving rest would far excel
The glories of the earth – without you hell.
What song could measure in sweet harmony
The stuff of which you are, your very being?
Though humans mock the light electrically,
What lamp can match the sun’s far brightest seeing?
What word can hold one single touch of you?
What note could chime with your transcendent heart?
I’d waste the ink of every pen earth knew
And still not capture e’en the smallest part.
Such is the weakness of all artful trying,
Such is the beauty gleaming in your eyes,
A voice that speaks, in speaking, only lying -
In word or music you can’t be comprised.
Only your self, in your self being presence
Can match your self, no essence speaks your essence.
Your light has more light than those lights of heaven,
Both spheres of fire by our science called,
As well as jewels of dream by angels tended,
When earth was Eden, fore the giant fall.
Such is the way this soul conceives of you,
Far brighter than the universe’ throng -
Your light exults the cosmos, for you prove
All doctrines of futility are wrong.
If god is dead and life lacks reason then
Your birth is resurrection – your bright form,
Awakes a godly corpse, your visions sends
Those rays that burn up nothings in a storm.
In you is truth, the stars have toiled ages
For your effulgence, only dreamed by sages.
If all the dreams that ever dreamed the earth
Were gathered all together and selection
Drew from each one what was its highest worth -
Yes, even if this brightest of collections
Were cast and formed by mighty angels singing,
Yet still this dream of dreams would pall and be
A feeble substitute, this greatest bringing
Would never bring the slightest touch of thee.
Your form transcends the hopes of all the race,
All gods that ever walked from human brains
Don’t hold within them any single trace
Of woman’s beauty, in your form unstained.
A book of holy reason’s in your self
Of more than godly dreams, your beauty’s wealth.
An ankle not adorned with some dull cloth
Is more than diamonds miners have exposed,
Through toiling, sweat and blood and working froth-
This smallest nakedness more worth than those.
And what if light could pry up to the knee -
No Affric enterprise, no Swiss bank’s stores
Could equal to that trove of ecstasy,
Though all the drills of industry have bored.
If they could tear the whole earth to the roots,
Find every carbon atom formed to brightness,
Grab every diamond in the soil’s soot,
Yet on the scales your weight exceeds their lightness.
There is no currency that man has dreamed:
All values false if they are higher deemed.
No dream that from an angel tends my night -
That brings me sweet relief from all the days
Of bearing earthly burden, earthly blight
Can match the merest of your merest ways.
A smile on your face, more worth than stars,
A vacant look that strays from out your eyes,
A movement of your leg does more by far
Than any dream of god or dreamed of prize.
The way a brightness covers all your being,
The way from out your will a brightness breathes,
The way all graces find in you agreeing
It’s like Beauty herself has been unsheathed,
Oh what a weapon she has forged in you,
A two edged sword: a Hell but Heaven too.
If god above tends lovingly the world
And all this life proceeds from out his will,
If ancient dreams, dreamed right the cosmic swirl,
Yet still the earth without you means god’s killed.
For what is this bright dream, this total meaning?
This harmony of things in one great good,
If you, your presence, aren’t around me gleaming -
All heaven’s light’s extinguished in a flood.
No ark could capture me from out your absence,
No work of man can steal such emptiness,
No host of golden light can mock your essence,
No god exists, without your godly kiss.
Such is the metaphysics of this soul:
From you a broken universe grows whole.
And all the dreams that dreaming ever knew
Are empty effigies, the merest shades,
Thin images without a spark imbued,
They mock your being but they but degrade.
And dream other than dream made real in you,
What if a dream, could wander out of mind
And form itself in matter, be made true
Yet not yourself, it’s just an empty rind.
Such is the beauty blessing all your substance,
No dream, this dreaming mind of mine can dream,
Can touch in any the way the godly sense
That spent itself in forming all your gleams.
Not all the diamonds trundled deep in earth:
They’re like burnt copper pennies to your worth.
What shrine could shine the essence of your soul?
What church could hold the power of your heart?
What work of man could praise your perfect whole?
What house of worship worship but one part?
These words but seek to build a temple here,
To speak one element that in you stays,
The stones are futile for you don’t appear:
The hammer strikes in vain to mock your ways.
Around my soul your image bends its light,
An absent presence, memories emerge.
I’m like a prophet with a second sight,
A vision gathered for your beauty purged:
A waking pain, a blessedness of sorrow
To have god here today but not tomorrow.
Not Buddha sitting high beneath a tree,
Nirvana recollected in a smile,
Not these, not these are joys as when I see
Your love bestowing face, the beauty’s miles.
The spaces of your beauty span the stars,
The universe itself could only hold,
Within its edges from the far to the far,
This love that glows more brightly than god’s gold.
There’s no explaining how this heart is doomed,
There is no reason born to crack this kernel:
A mystery within the mystic blooms
Of every form existent and supernal.
There’s’ not one thing that is that isn’t blest,
But you above them all, God’s highest Yes.