Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
Song of Women
By Edgar Lee Masters
From “Canticle of the Race”

HOW beautiful is the flesh of women—
Their throats, their breasts!
My wonder is a flame which burns,
A flame which rests;
It is a flame which no wind turns,        5
And a flame which quests.
I know a woman who has red lips,
Like coals which are fanned.
Her throat is tied narcissus, it dips
From her white-rose chin.        10
Her throat curves like a cloud to the land
Where her breasts begin—
I close my eyes when I put my hand
On her breast’s white skin.
The flesh of woman is like the sky        15
When bare is the moon:
Rhythm of backs, hollow of necks,
And sea-shell loins.
I know a woman whose splendors vex
Where the flesh joins—        20
A slope of light and a circumflex
Of clefts and coigns.
She thrills like the air when silence wrecks
An ended tune.
These are things not made by hands in the earth:        25
Water and fire,
The air of heaven, and springs afresh,
And love’s desire.
And a thing not made is a woman’s flesh,
Sorrow and mirth!        30
She tightens the strings on the lyric lyre,
And she drips the wine.
Her breasts bud out as pink and nesh
As buds on the vine:
For fire and water and air are flesh,        35
And love is the shrine.

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