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Cassandra

Written by: Hilda Doolittle | Biography
 | Quotes (53) |
 O Hymen king. 

Hymen, O Hymen king, 
what bitter thing is this? 
what shaft, tearing my heart? 
what scar, what light, what fire 
searing my eye-balls and my eyes with flame? 
nameless, O spoken name, 
king, lord, speak blameless Hymen. 

Why do you blind my eyes? 
why do you dart and pulse 
till all the dark is home, 
then find my soul 
and ruthless draw it back? 
scaling the scaleless, 
opening the dark? 
speak, nameless, power and might; 
when will you leave me quite? 
when will you break my wings 
or leave them utterly free 
to scale heaven endlessly? 

A bitter, broken thing, 
my heart, O Hymen lord, 
yet neither drought nor sword 
baffles men quite, 
why must they feign to fear 
my virgin glance? 
feigned utterly or real 
why do they shrink? 
my trance frightens them, 
breaks the dance, 
empties the market-place; 
if I but pass they fall 
back, frantically; 
must always people mock? 
unless they shrink and reel 
as in the temple 
at your uttered will. 

O Hymen king, 
lord, greatest, power, might, 
look for my face is dark, 
burnt with your light, 
your fire, O Hymen lord; 
is there none left 
can equal me 
in ecstasy, desire? 
is there none left 
can bear with me 
the kiss of your white fire? 
is there not one, 
Phrygian or frenzied Greek, 
poet, song-swept, or bard, 
one meet to take from me 
this bitter power of song, 
one fit to speak, Hymen, 
your praises, lord? 

May I not wed 
as you have wed? 
may it not break, beauty, 
from out my hands, my head, my feet? 
may Love not lie beside me 
till his heat 
burn me to ash? 
may he not comfort me, then, 
spent of all that fire and heat, 
still, ashen-white and cool 
as the wet laurels, 
white, before your feet 
step on the mountain-slope, 
before your fiery hand 
lift up the mantle 
covering flower and land, 
as a man lifts, 
O Hymen, from his bride, 
(cowering with woman eyes,) the veil? 
O Hymen lord, be kind.



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