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.
I Am the Song of Love
By Joseph T. Shipley (1893–1988)

I AM the song of love.
I murmur gently in the secret places.
When the lovers breathe the gladness of the sky;
When they laugh, and the cause of their mirth is hidden;
When they are awing with the bird, adrift with the cloud, astir with the leaves and the blades of grass and the spring:        5
I am the song they sing.
I am the purl of their caresses.
I am the cry of the passion of love.
  I swell through the ardor of embracing;
Tongue whispers me to tongue, and I rise in the breast of the maiden;        10
I throb in the arms that encircle;
I beat in the legs that entwine;
I climb to a roar of ecstatic flow, man to woman,
The full-bellowed call of life.
Before the panting diminish, and the blissful anguish die,        15
I am the passion cry.
I am the rhythm of their silences.
I am the sob of the sorrow of love.
  When the tigress haunts the jungle of her mind, solitary, baffled,
When her mate is caged in convention, is exhibited upon the highways of life;        20
I am the moan of her loneliness,
I am the howl of his rage.
  When the stars glow unheeded above a lone, bowed head;
When longing lovers watch the studded air—each viewing other constellations;
When the low bell of midnight falls on the listening, unexpectant ear,        25
And the lark proclaims anew the impotent day;
When absence lays its hoar-frost on the soul;
When death has come to rob:
I am the sorrow-sob.
I am the eternal ever-changing song of love.        30

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