Delmore Schwartz

(8 December 1913 - 11 July 1966 / Brooklyn / New York / United States)

Archaic Bust Of Apollo


(After Rilke)


We cannot know the indescribable face
Where the eyes like apples ripened. Even so,
His torso has a candelabra's glow,
His gaze, contained as in a mirror's grace,

Shines within it. Otherwise his breast
Would not be dazzling. Nor would you recognize
The smile that moves along his curving thighs,
There where love's strength is caught within its nest.

This stone would not be broken, but intact
Beneath the shoulders' flowing cataract,
Nor would it glisten like a stallion's hide,

Brimming with radiance from every side
As a star sparkles. Now it is dawn once more.
All places scrutinize you. You must be reborn.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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