The Kiss of Consummation

By George Sterling (1869–1926)

Lo! Thou hast granted us for Thee a name,
    But never, Lord, shall there be a name for this
    The storm and sacrament of love’s abyss;
Nor shall the mind conceive nor man’s tongue frame
Nor Music in her farthest flight proclaim
    The tale of that intolerable bliss
    When breathless lips meet in the final kiss,
And mouth on mouth melts to incarnate flame.

When, lest the astounding racks of bliss destroy
    The body with its ecstasy alive,—
The maddened flesh grown infinite with joy,
    Peace sends her Lethe to the reeling brain,
Ere the inexorable flame revive
    And Love that slew sound trumpets o’er the slain.

Smith, T.R., ed.  Poetica Erotica.  (New York:  Crown Publishers, 1921).

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