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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