Timothy Steele

(1948 / Vermont / United States)

Eros - Poem by Timothy Steele

By rights one should experience holy dread
At the young woman gowned in black chiffon
Who, at a mirror, slightly turns her head,
Large eyes intent, and puts an earring on.
One should fear redwoods where the sun sinks shafts
Of glowing light through dust-revolving drafts
And where the cyclist slimly coasts through trees
As she leans forward, her arms long and brown,
And gives her brakes a moderating squeeze.

Yet the soul loves the braided rope of hair,
The sense of heat and light, the cheek's faint flush.
Time blurs; nights end; one climbs a narrow stair,
The studio's warm, the city is a hush
Of streetlamps and the snow that, all night, falls.
But later when one rises and recalls
How, in the dark, the spirit clings and melts,
It is as if the ardent, giddy rush
Had happened, somehow, to somebody else.

Gently to brush hair from the sleeping face,
To feel breath on the fingers, and to try
To check joy in that intimate, small place
Where joy's own joyousness can't satisfy—
This is pain. This is power that comes and goes.
This is as secret as the fresh clean snows
Which, destitute of traffic to confess,
Will serve at dawn as witness to a sky
Withdrawing to its high blue faultlessness.

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Read poems about / on: mirror, hair, joy, city, snow, woman, power, light, fear, pain, dark, sky, sun, night, tree, women, sleep, rose

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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