The Bather

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Water, frolic water!
Drops in the dazzle of noon, drops divinely cold,
Radiant down naked breast, down arm and thigh
You run to my feet, shaken to shining grass,
Betwixt the green blades, liquid gems, you lie.
Water, careless water!
Little miraculous mirrors
Globing the glory of earth and sky,
Lazy drops, vanishing in the sun’s hot kisses,
Drops caressingly rolled,
You glide and suddenly fall like a falling star,
Like a throb of delight you die.
The pool beneath me glows
In its own gloom asleep,
Water, secret water!
But all its quivering sparkles, a fairy mesh,
Are showered about my sun–delighted flesh.
And I wonder at the beauty of water,
Simple and swift and shy,
A slumber and escape,
Anywhither yielding,
A never–recovered shape,
Laughter and loss in an instant’s gleam to the eye!
Water, vivid water!
I feel the cool drops run
Down me in the sun;
And suddenly thrilling near
In the stillness of noon is a vision of water swung
In waves heavy and huge
Out of a chaos shaped into shapes of fear
Heedless of human cry,
Drowning, ruining, endlessly crashed and returning,–
A power, a terror! O cold, dancing drops,
Is it the kiss of a danger in delight
That makes you glow on the body of a man
And the heart of a man reply?

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