The Tryst

I raised the veil, I loosed the bands,
I took the dead thing from its place.
Like a warm stream in frozen lands
My lips went wandering on her face,
My hands burnt in her hands.

She could not stay me, being dead;
Her body here was mine to hold.
What if her lips had lost their red?
To me they always tasted cold
With the cold words she said.

Did my breath run along her hair,
And free the pulse, and fire the brain,
My wild blood wake her wild blood there?
Here eyelids lifted wide again
In a blue, sudden stare.

Beneath my fierce, profane caress
The whole white length of body moved;
The drowsy bosom seemed to press
As if against a breast beloved,
Then fail for weariness.

No, not that anguish! Christ forbid
That I should raise such dead! I rose,
Stifled the mouth with lilies, hid
Those eyes, And drew the long hair close,
And shut the coffin lid.

My cold brow on the cold wood laid,
Quiet and close to-night we lie.
No cruel words her lips have said.
I shall not take nor she deny.
The dead is with the dead.

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