Awakenings of Love
ANCIENT EGYPTIAN LOVE LYRIC
Your love has gone all through my body
like honey in water,
as a drug is mixed into spices,
as water is mingled with wine.
Oh that you would speed to see your sister
like a charger on the battlefield, like a bull to his pasture!
For the heavens are sending us love like a flame spreading through straw
and desire like the swoop of the falcon!
[c. 1085–c. 570 b.c.]
FLOWER OF LOVE
The perfume of your body dulls my sense.
I want nor wine nor weed; your breath alone
Suffices. In this moment rare and tense
I worship at your breast. The flower is blown
The saffron petals tempt my amorous mouth,
The yellow heart is radiant now with dew
Soft-scented, redolent of my loved South;
O flower of love! I give myself to you.
Uncovered on your couch of figured green,
Here let us linger indivisible.
The portals of your sanctuary unseen
Receive my offering, yielding unto me.
Oh, with our love the night is warm and deep!
The air is sweet, my flower, and sweet the flute
Whose music lulls our burning brain to sleep,
While we lie loving, passionate and mute.
[1890–1948] THE BAIT
Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands, and crystal brooks,
With silken lines, and silver hooks.
There will the river whispering run
Warmed by thy eyes, more than the sun.
And there the’enamoured fish will stay,
Begging themselves they may betray.
When thou wilt swim in that live bath,
Each fish, which every channel hath,
Will amorously to thee swim,
Gladder to catch thee, than thou him.
If thou, to be so seen, be’st loth,
By sun, or moon, thou darkenest both,
And if myself have leave to see,
I need not their light, having thee.
Let others freeze with angling reeds,
And cut their legs, with shells and weeds,
Or treacherously poor fish beset,
With strangling snare, or windowy net:
Let coarse bold hands, from slimy nest
The bedded fish in banks out-wrest,
Of curious traitors, sleavesilk flies
Bewitch poor fishes’ wandering eyes.
For thee, thou need’st no such deceit,
For thou thyself art thine own bait,
That fish, that is not catched thereby,
Alas, is wiser far than I.
[1572–1631] SO JUST KISS ME
So just kiss me and let my hair
messy itself in your fingers
tell me nothing needs to be done—
no clocks need winding
There is no bell without a voice
needing to borrow my own
instead, let me steady myself
in the arms
of a man who won’t ask me to be
what he needs, but lets me exist
as I am
a blonde flame
in a tiny body
that will come to his arms
like the safest harbor
Excerpted from Sensual Love Poems by Kathleen Blease. Copyright © 2002 by Kathleen Blease. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.