by George Sterling (1869–1926)

Calling you now, not for your flesh I call,
    Nor for the mad, long raptures of the night
    And passion in its beauty and its might,
When the ecstatic bodies rise and fall.
I cannot feign:  God knows I see it all—
    The flaming senses, raving with delight,
    The leopards, swift and terrible and white,
Within the loins that shudder as they crawl.

All that could I exultingly forego,
    Could I but stand, one flash of time, and see
Your heavenly, entrancing face, and know
    I stood most blest of all beneath the sun,
    Hearing these words from your fond lips to me:
        “I love, love you, and love no other one!”

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

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