Ella Wheeler Wilcox (5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)
All That Love Asks
All that I ask, 'says Love, 'is just to stand
And gaze, unchided, deep in thy dear eyes;
For in their depths lies largest Paradise.
Yet, if perchance one pressure of thy hand
Be granted me, then joy I thought complete
Were still more sweet.
'All that I ask, ' says Love, 'all that I ask,
Is just thy hand clasp. Could I brush thy cheek
As zephyrs brush a rose leaf, words are weak
To tell the bliss in which my soul would bask.
There is no language but would desecrate
A joy so great.
'All that I ask, is just one tender touch
Of that soft cheek. Thy pulsing palm in mine,
Thy dark eyes lifted in a trust divine
And those curled lips that tempt me overmuch
Turned where I may not seize the supreme bliss
Of one mad kiss.
'All that I ask, ' says Love, 'of life, of death,
Or of high heaven itself, is just to stand,
Glance melting into glance, hand twined in hand,
The while I drink the nectar of thy breath,
In one sweet kiss, but one, of all thy store,
I ask no more.'
'All that I ask'-nay, self-deceiving Love,
Reverse thy phrase, so thus the words may fall,
In place of 'all I ask, ' say, 'I ask all, '
All that pertains to earth or soars above,
All that thou wert, art, will be, body, soul,
Love asks the whole.
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