A Subtler Love


My love's a stranger, subtler mystery it seems
    far weirder than a disregarded deity's dreams
    who tho' ageless once into immortal realms begotten
but deprived of worship now is soon forgetting and forgotten.

She taught the Graces-- Splendor, Cheer and Mirth;
    O no, she cannot be of earth!
        but from some stranger, madder plane than this
        where Titans groan and Gorgons hiss
        where lovelorn witches bless and curse
  and even Time himself and all the Gods had birth.

Her tread more graceful than the mad wild dance
of gypsy maids, she rivals with her glance
    the doleful passions in the wet eyes' sheen
        of any demi-god's unhappy queen.

Her song's a stranger melody, and lovely near to pain
    ah! what sweetness in her sorcery!
     (she's sister to Melancholy)
her touch it bids the heart to stop... then makes it quick again.

She speaks in smiles, my all-wise sphinx,
well fit to stir to madness minds of kings!
And tho' nescient of what arcane charms
she draws her pow'rs from, within her arms
in soothing sleep --O drowsiness of summer gardens!
regardless of the sin she offers pardons.

Thus how mythical and strange, unreal
as aught Man ever dared to feel
seems she, who roams a nameless, fabulous clime
and yet she's real, real as the rhyme.

If there be Life in Death she'll bring
to ghosts of withered flowers spring
and thus teach long dead queens in Hades
where to find beauty even in the realm of shades.
And even jealous Proserpine more fervent
from her advice adjure each spectral servant
which blossoms to fetch and then which not
to console the heartsick mistress of a god.

My love's a stranger, subtler mystery and still
her caress sparks the flames of will
        (a subtler love, though fiercer still
        than all the furious fiends of hell)
  To tell of her--  words fail to speak
and if you quest to find her... search where dreamers seek.

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