Love has stained my body,
the holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
A terrible beauty is born.
Too long a sacrifice can make a stone
of the heart.
Oh Gods, if I have kept faith, please grant me this:
Purge Your spirits of slow reluctance.
The black cobra of love burns,
Ash for the cruel and merciful wind,
Who never lets go out
the procession’s sacred torch.
His words like a storm wind can bring terror
with a mercy that outrides
Glow Glory in Thunder —
You have come to be entirely a feeling for me.
Love shakes my heart,
Dreamslender exquisite white firstful flame.
That’s how people burn to death.
This blood has turned to dust.
Who even dead, yet hath his mind entire?
A broken bundle of mirrors
first must thou go the road to hell.
Like a small beast shaken from the moon,
Everything seems too large,
as red as terror and as green as fate.
Be on your mettle now!
Wait for the wounded to scream themselves to death.
Wonderful relic, all that’s left us of deserted greatness.
I saw battle corpses, myriads of them,
a conversation of 500 years.
Pay we our vows and go
with words imposing on my tongue.
Outside a May god moves His paws to alter wind.
He will return,
bringing me asphodel and a dark feather.
Redeemer of outcasts!
You reveal Yourself age after age;
and as one sees most fearful things,
You must know who I am, my Love.
Rock ribbed and ancient as the sun,
to the tally of my soul,
O sane and sacred Death.
Make for our searching: yes, in spite of all
Bear the brunt,
and the elements’ rage.
Your mouth’s a hook.
All this subdues me utterly,
a verdict wholly in our favor.
[With respect to Mirabai, Wallace Stevens, William Butler Yeats, Catullus, Michelangelo, Constantine Cavafy, Emerson, Sappho, Gerard Manley Hopkins, e.e. cummings, Tennessee Williams, Wendell Berry, Ezra Pound, Beowulf/Seamus Heaney, Ntozake Shange, Dionysios Solomos/Rachel Hadas, Marianne Moore, Robert Herrick, Seamus Heaney, Michael Ondaatje, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Mary Karr, Oscar Wilde, William Cullant Bryant, Walt Whitman, John Keats, Robert Browning, Makedoios Hypatos/George Economou, Paulus Silentiarius/Edmund Keeley, Aeschylus/Aaron Poochigian].