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.
From “The Book of Love”
By Blanche Shoemaker Wagstaff (1888–1959)

I WALK alone and cry out under the stars.
As one in a desert I hunger for refreshment.
I have need of the coolness of some azure pool.
O, I would anoint my bosom with the clear water!
O, I would immerse myself in the emulous depths!        5
O, I would drink of ineffable dreams.
You, Beloved, are the silvery lake shimmering in the desert of my youth.
You only can allay the fever of my spirit!
On your lips I should drain the fountain of life.
On your white breast I shall breath the perfume of numberless lilies.        10
Therein I shall die a thousand deaths and arise reborn in the awful splendor of your love….
*        *        *        *        *
LAY your hands,—softer than dove’s wings,—in my hands so I may feel your young life flowing into mine thro’ your finger-tips.
Lay your eyes upon my eyes that I may grow tremulous beneath the flutter of your eyelids.
Lay your heart against my heart that I may hear your love summoning me to forgetfulness.
Lay your tresses about me that I may feel their warm sun streaming thro’ my veins.        15
Lay your mouth on my mouth until all dissolves in mist about me….
                (Is it life? Is it death?)
*        *        *        *        *
YOU are as a million birds that sing unto my heart, O, Beloved.
Thro’ the long nights I hear the chanting of blithe voices.
What divine minstrelsy! what ravishment….        20
Is this multitudinous melody the rapture of your kiss?
Come to me, press upon my brow the coolness of your young lips that I may hear the thunder of your love in the night….
*        *        *        *        *
When will it end, the long vigil….
What dawn will bring you forever unto me, O, my Beloved?
Life is but shadow.        25
Only you, my Beloved, are more real than shadow.
Beneath your caresses I am as one awakened unto life.
Your finger-tips bear presage of divinity. Your heart-beats are a threnody sublime.
O, Beloved, you are as a white nenuphar lifting its snowy breast on a stream. In your bosom are all the treasures of Elysium. The scent of your skin is like jasmine and honeysuckle.
Why is such loveliness withheld from me, O, Beloved?        30
When can I look upon you and say: “Beloved! all this beauty is mine forever.”
When will it end, the long vigil….
*        *        *        *        *
O, MIRACLE of love!
You whom I adore unto delirium,
Your arms are white lilies upon my bosom.        35
Stars encircle me when your lips lean down to mine. There is the sound of many waters falling. There is the murmur of a million nightingales,—and the flash of brilliant lightning.
Caress celestial!
Moon-path of my dreams!
O, miracle of Love—my divinity and my crucifixion….
*        *        *        *        *
WHEN the young moon silvers the sky, the earth is ours,        40
We shall go into the forest and wander in the shadow of the pines.
I shall cover you with leaves, and we shall lie on the soft moss entwined like sisters.
And all the while I will know that the fragrance of your skin is sweeter to me than the perfumes of a million roses….
*        *        *        *        *
LET me enfold you in my hair.
Let me wind you as in a golden skein.        45
Give me the curve of your throat, milky white and rose, that I may place about it the glossy fillets of my hair.
Don it as a shining mantilla….
Let my hair shower about you until you are radiant with perfume;
Let it ripple over you like the wind on summer wheat.
Then give me your lips that we may stand united beneath the downpour of its sunlight.        50
Let us be intermingled as two trees that have bent one single root….
*        *        *        *        *
IT rains, Beloved….
The dripping of the rain is like the cool kisses of your mouth….
I faint beneath the rapture of your lips.
Be no longer tender.        55
Cover me with frenzied kisses,—even as I would drench my body in the cruel torrents of the rain.
Envelop me from throat to ankle in delirium intolerable….
*        *        *        *        *
TO love you like the midnight storm!
To take you swooning unto death as the wind sweeps the waves in tempest!        60
To transport you unto delirium!
To hear the wild beating of your veins; to feel flame shuddering your blood and to agonize you with my ardor.
To crush you as a flower upon my breast,
To bear you away to some secret valley where I would love you unto insensibility….
*        *        *        *        *
IF I think of you, I quiver from head to foot.        65
If I think of you tears flood my eyes.
If I pass you my heart quickens to suffocation and the blood seems to leave my body.
If I look into your eyes a sudden fire burns in my veins.
If I touch you I am as one possessed with madness; my arms tremble and my limbs totter beneath me.
To love you is to suffer the pangs of an intolerable agony.
*        *        *        *        *
I SEE you coming toward me….
Silently you take me in your arms.
Our lips meet and our eyes close.
I feel the shuddering of your breast and the beating of your throat against mine.
We are enveloped in darkness.        75
We know nothing but the thunder of our veins….
We are swept out into a sea of infinite oblivion.

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