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.
By Katherine Wisner McCluskey
(From The Pagan, 1920)

PITY, O Bridegroom,
The perilous joy of the bride!
In the searching lights of her eyes,
In the fugitive flush of her cheeks,
In the fainting pink of her palm,        5
In the speed-mad pulse of her wrist,
In the throb and flight of her heart,
In the lifting foam of her breasts,
In her pale, excited smile,—
A dim flame, blown in a wind,—        10
See the perilous happiness,
The dizzy, peering happiness,
Hid in the blood of your bride.
Eve alone
Of the generations of women,        15
Lacked the perilous joy of the bride.
Fully innocent, fully ignorant,
Gurgled her sweet child-laughter.
But to her daughters,
Down to the wayward moderns,        20
Whispers and echoes what she learned
From giving her secret self,
From giving her red rose heart,
From giving her cream rose breast,
From giving her crystal dreams,—        25
Dividing her trinity,
Her soul and her flesh and her mind,
With Adam.
So began, O Bridegroom,
The perilous happiness,        30
A bubble, ready to break,
A sphere made of colors alone,
Your bride with her searching eyes
Holds out to your snatching hands.

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