Three Romances — I


The curtain splits. I face the night
Alone in a great gush of light.
The darkness claps and coughs and cries
And twinkles with its thousand eyes.

The music sobs on the long drawn
Sad prelude of a single horn,
Till, with a crash, it takes the bar
That greets the entrance of the star.

I do not know my cue, the part
Forgotten that I learned by heart,
Only the naked act burns clear
And, in that instant, She is here.

As down the centre of the stage
She stalks in her voluptuous rage,
Light shrieks on her elastic skin,
Her navel widens to a grin.

And, left and right, magnificent,
Her scowling thighs about me bent,
Their fathom of strength and thunder join
To brace the warm spathe of the loin.

The flutes in all this blaze and heat
Their long smooth strokes repeat, repeat,
The violins swiftlier, sweetlier call,
And then the trumpet shatters all.

Down through a hundred raptures I
Slide weakly out of her and lie
Like a wet worm upon the boards,
And nobody at all applauds.

For, as the lights go out, there falls
Starlight among the roofless stalls;
This audience died long ago;
Their bones sit rocking at the show.

The dry weeds shake beside your chair;
Your jaw-bone drops to the parterre;
And, from the lustre, clear and full,
One crystal tinkles on your skull.

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