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Madison Julius Cawein

(1865-1914 / the United States)

Snow And Fire


Deep-hearted roses of the purple dusk
And lilies of the morn;
And cactus, holding up a slender tusk
Of fragrance on a thorn;
All heavy flowers, sultry with their musk,
Her presence puts to scorn.

For she is like the pale, pale snowdropp there,
Scentless and chaste of heart;
The moonflower, making spiritual the air,
Like some pure work of art;
Divine and holy, exquisitely fair,
And virtue's counterpart.

Yet when her eyes gaze into mine, and when
Her lips to mine are pressed,
Why are my veins all fire then? and then
Why should her soul suggest
Voluptuous perfumes, maddening unto men,
And prurient with unrest?

Submitted: Wednesday, October 03, 2012

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