Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
Love Triumphant
By George Sylvester Viereck (1884–1962)
(From Nineveh and Other Poems, 1907)

YOUR body’s treasures are mine to-day,
  Though bitter as gall be their savour still;
From head to foot shall my kisses play,
  Till naught is kept from their sovereign will!
The voice of my need supreme must guide        5
  My passionate love to its destined goal;
My feverish fingers shall seek and glide
  Until at the last I hold the soul.
My hot strong hands will no veil endure
  That shadows your radiant nakedness;        10
Lay bare each beauty, conceal no lure,
  Leave naught to hinder my fond caress!
Young blood beats onward, unchecked by shame,
  When passion’s harvest is ripe to reap;
For who shall speak with the raging flame,        15
  Or stay the cataract in its leap?
My armies have stormed at your city’s gate—
  I have conquered you, hold you. Might is right
With the beasts of the wild that celebrate
  In the jungle their primal marriage night.        20
You too are moved by the selfsame power,
  Your quick breath tells in its shuddering fall:
There is naught so strong as love this hour—
  Call it god or beast, it is lord of all!
The god in me and the beast in me        25
  And all deep things come up to light;
And I would barter my soul to be
  The prize of love for a single night.
One long, long night of supreme desire,
  One long, long night of riot and rage;        30
For you are the sea and I the fire,
  And old as the world is the war we wage.
The old, old strife of woman and man
  That ever has been, and still shall be
Until the day when the vaulted span        35
  Shall sink a wreck in the whelming sea.
Once fed, no longer the wolf-pack raves:
  But love can never of madness tire,
And I must drown in your passion’s waves,
  And you consume in my hot desire.        40
This the law of the flowering south,
  Of the snow-clad north where the world is white …
You shall faint and fall as I crush your mouth
  Beneath a conqueror’s ruthless might!
My life is poured in the stream of yours,        45
  But fire and flood were not meant to mate:
We shall never be one while the world endures—
  And the meaning of love at the last is hate!
My soul is drunk with your maddening charms;
  You have taken all—I have naught to lose.        50
About me tighten your slender arms
  With the very grip of the hangman’s noose.
So let us struggle, both flame and flood,
  Let love and hate and sense have play
Till the slow dawn rises bathed in blood,        55
  And you and I are dead ere day!

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