Lascelles Abercrombie

(9 January 1881 – 27 October 1938 / Ashton)

From "Vashti"

Poem by Lascelles Abercrombie

WHAT thing shall be held up to woman's beauty?
Where are the bounds of it? Yea, what is all
The world, but an awning scaffolded amid
The waste perilous Eternity, to lodge
This Heaven-wander'd princess, woman's beauty?
The East and West kneel down to thee, the North
And South; and all for thee their shoulders bear
The load of fourfold space. As yellow morn
Runs on the slippery waves of the spread sea,
Thy feet are on the griefs and joys of men
That sheen to be thy causey. Out of tears
Indeed, and blitheness, murder and lust and love,
Whatever has been passionate in clay,
Thy flesh was tempered. Behold in thy body
The yearnings of all men measured and told,
Insatiate endless agonies of desire
Given thy flesh, the meaning of thy shape!
What beauty is there, but thou makest it?
How is earth good to look on, woods and fields,
The season's garden, and the courageous hills,
All this green raft of earth moored in the seas?
The manner of the sun to ride the air,
The stars God has imagined for the night?
What's this behind them, that we cannot near,
Secret still on the point of being blabbed,
The ghost in the world that flies from being named?
Where do they get their beauty from, all these?
They do but glaze a lantern lit for man,
And woman's beauty is the flame therein.

Comments about From "Vashti" by Lascelles Abercrombie

  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (10/17/2015 4:17:00 PM)

    The meaning of thy shape! Nice work.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Susan WilliamsSusan Williams (10/17/2015 2:47:00 PM)

    We had a Bible Study about the Book of Esther and I really admired Vashti who was the wife of King Ahasuerus. It was tradition that when the king held a banquet for the nobles that the queen held a separate banquet for the women. This particular time the King got drunk and wanted to show off the beauty of his queen Vashti so he ordered his seven chamberlains to summon Vashti to come before him and his guests wearing her royal crown. This was not culturally cool because the Queen was not to be displayed before a bunch of drunks. Vashti refused to come, and the king got angry at being told no in front of his drunken revelers His sneaky snake adviser tells him that Vashti needs to be put aside and replaced by another queen because she has encouraged all the wives in Persia to disobey their husbands. Anarchy will result, wives will run amuck in the streets. What modern woman would not like Vashti?(Report)Reply

    27 person liked.
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  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (10/17/2015 10:10:00 AM)

    Nicely written poem.Liked it.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Amos O. Ojwang' (10/17/2015 3:38:00 AM)

    This is such a wonderfully written poem. I really loved reading it.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
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Read poems about / on: beauty, woman, murder, lust, green, heaven, world, sea, sun, god, night, women, running, star

Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004

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