William Clark Falkner
Sapphics - Poem by William Clark Falkner
So it is: sleep comes not on my eyelids.
Nor in my eyes, with shaken hair and white
Aloof pale hands, and lips and breasts of iron,
So she beholds me.
And yet though sleep comes not to me, there comes
A vision from the full smooth brow of sleep,
The white Aphrodite moving unbounded
By her own hair.
In the purple beaks of the doves that draw her,
Beaks straight without desire, necks bent backward
Toward Lesbos and the flying feet of Loves
Weeping behind her.
She looks not back, she looks not back to where
The nine crowned muses about Apollo
Stand like nine Corinthian columns singing
In clear evening.
She sees not the Lesbians kissing mouth
To mouth across lute strings, drunken with singing,
Nor the white feet of the Oceanides
Shining and unsandalled.
Before her go cryings and lamentations
Of barren women, a thunder of wings,
While ghosts of outcast Lethean women, lamenting,
Stiffen the twilight.
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